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Closed minds over beech forests - Eckhoff

Closed minds over beech forests - Eckhoff

Tuesday 21st Dec 1999
Gerry Eckhoff
Media Release -- Environment

The Forest and Bird Society and the Government are displaying frightening signs of closed minds, says ACT's conservation and agriculture spokesman Gerry Eckhoff.

"There are two points of view regarding the viability of ecosystems in the South Island beech forests," Mr Eckhoff said. "One says ecosystems are sustainable in forests managed under the terms of West Coast Accord. The other, more purist view, says ecosystems can only survive if the forests are left untouched.

"Those scientists who support forests being managed under the Accord are now being told by Government and the Forest and Bird Society they've lost the argument, and they should shut up and go away.

"But science doesn't work like this," Mr Eckhoff said. "Eminent scientists such as Professor John Craig (Auckland University) and Dr Henrik Moller (Otago University) are basing their views on scientific evidence and analysis. It is an insult to science to say "shut up and go away".

"The purist view assumes that simply locking up the forest estate is all that's needed to look after ecosystems. But the fact is that those ecosystems are being ravaged by possums, ferrets and other imported pests. So the forests have to be managed. The Accord has given us a world-acclaimed system of sustainable management according to scientific principles.

"The debate is not over. It is a matter of concern that the Government and the purists within the conservation lobby want to simply lock up the forests and close their ears or minds to science," Mr Eckhoff said.

Ends

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact
the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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