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Commission Won't Investigate Timberlands Decision

COMMISSIONER WILL NOT INVESTIGATE THE “TIMBERLANDS DECISION”

Wellington, 1 February 2000—The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment announced today, that he will not be investigating the Government’s recent Timberlands decision.

“The Government, as steward of the Crown’s beech forests, has the right to decide their future” said Dr Morgan Williams. “To manage these forests for conservation does not pose the types of environmental risks that warrant a PCE investigation,” he added.

“While the office has received formal and informal requests to investigate the Government’s decision, I don’t think it is necessary on environmental grounds,” said Dr Williams.

“However, the conflict over the West Coast beech forest is symptomatic of unresolved debates and major challenges facing New Zealand over biodiversity and future land uses; indicative of the need for a broader investigation,” he said.

“During the 21st century New Zealand must maintain and restore extensive areas of indigenous ecosystems in order to meet a range of environmental, economic and social needs. Later this year, I will therefore investigate the sustainability of New Zealand’s terrestrial biodiversity, and the risks and opportunities posed by current land uses,” said Dr Williams.

“The terms of reference for this study will be developed in wide consultation with interested parties, tangata whenua and communities throughout New Zealand,” said Dr Williams. “It is essential that my investigation asks the key questions, and addresses the full range of views and values inherent in this complex area,” he concluded.
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For more information: Dr. Morgan Williams, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, on (04) 471-1669 or visit our web site http://www.pce.govt.nz

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