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Bluegreens Call For Reopening Of Rimu Hearings

BLUEGREENS advising the National Party on environment, culture and heritage issues

3 May, 2000

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

A call for the reopening of resource consent hearings of the aborted Timberlands proposals for the selective logging of rimu in part of the West Coast forests, has been made by Terry Dunleavy, national convener of Bluegreens, the organisation which advises the National Party on environmental, cultural and heritage issues.

Welcoming the news that deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton and Finance Minister Michael Cullen will ask Cabinet to take another look at the logging issue, Mr Dunleavy has urged the Labour and Alliance leadership to ignore totally what he describes as "the bludger mentality of the Greens and the rabble rousing ranting of Native Forest Action. "

"The Greens want New Zealand to take the bludgers' option of importing from overseas the specialty timbers which our furniture craftsmen need to meet the legitimate demands of New Zealanders for furniture, decorative panelling and deckings, while condemning the hardy people of the Coast to becoming wards of the State dependent on the public purse. The Greens show themselves for what they really are: traitors to the cause of sustainability, which involves balancing the protection and enhancement of our biodiversity with the needs of the people's livelihoods and fulfilment. The Greens are apparently happy to see West Coasters out of gainful employment, while their forests and birds are handed over to DOC who have already shown they are not able to protect them from the real threat they face - the ravages of pests and predators."

"Sustainable development is as much about people as it is about flora and fauna, and there are many well qualified environmental experts who agree that a sensible balance can be achieved between those various interests. The one chance we had of testing the sustainability of what Timberlands was proposing was the resource consent hearing which was aborted by Ministerial decree with a degree of haste which was as regrettable as it was ill-advised.

"Let's sort this out in the proper place, in the proper way, not in a frenzy of emotive and usually misleading media arguments, but in the calm considered environment of a resource hearing at which all parties can have their say.

"This could become a win-win-win situation. The resource consent process should be allowed to determine who was right. By returning the argument to its proper legal forum, the Government would win by regaining much of the mana it lost in its hasty breaching of the 1986 West Coast Accord signed at the instigation of the previous Labour Government, and in its assault on the sanctity of the contracts which had been negotiated by Timberlands. If Timberlands fails to gain consent, the Government wins justification for its actions. If Timberlands gains consent, the Government and the taxpayers could win by saving $120 million, and West Coasters would win by salvaging jobs and their self-respect," Mr Dunleavy concluded.

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461 words

Contact details: National Convenor: Terry Dunleavy MBE, JP Tel (09) 486 3859 - Fax (09) 486 2341 - Mobile 025 836688 - Email: terry@winezeal.co.nz


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