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Forest And Bird Welcomes Timberlands Decision

Forest and Bird has welcomed the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment's decision not to investigate the Government's decision to scrap the beech-logging scheme.

The Society's conservation director, Kevin Smith, said the decision was a triumph of commonsense over ideology.

"Key members of the pro-logging email group, including Dr Henrik Moller, have been calling for a PCE investigation because they disingenuously claimed an end to the logging was a major environmental setback and a blow to global forest conservation and sustainable management initiatives," said Mr Smith.

"That view has been rightly rejected by the PCE who has decided that the management of the beech forests for conservation does not pose environmental risks warranting investigation."

"Forest and Bird believes the protection of the beech forests is one of New Zealand's biggest conservation gains in the last fifteen years," said Mr Smith.

The call for a PCE investigation was first made by Timberlands' former Planning Manager, Kit Richards, in his now infamous email.

Mr Smith, however, questioned whether the PCE's announcement of a wide-ranging review later in the year of terrestrial biodiversity management was appropriate.

"The Government will be finalising New Zealand's Biodiversity Strategy this year and one of its key goals will be to promote indigenous biodiversity conservation on private land. It seems odd for the PCE to investigate indigenous biodiversity management at the very time the Government is commencing a comprehensive programme to address this issue."

Mr Smith said a PCE review in two or three years' time on the effectiveness of the Biodiversity Strategy would have seemed a better use of the Commissioner's limited resources.

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