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Conservationists Consider New Forest Protests

Native Forest Action is considering renewed protests in the West Coast forests following yesterday’s announcement of a further two years rimu logging. The group will seek a meeting with Ministers to hear details of the conservation plans for the forests before planning protest.

The group welcomed yesterday’s commitment to protect the forests permanently but says its supporters around the country are very angry at the government’s backdown on its promise to end the logging quickly.

“Labour and the Alliance were voted in on strong forest conservation policies but ever since the election the issue has been driven by Ministers with no sympathy for conservation,” said spokesperson Dean Baigent-Mercer.

“The government promised conservation group it would end the logging as soon as possible and then privately planned to extend rimu logging as far into the future as it could get away with politically. Their credibility for other environmental issues is doubtful.”

“If the government had no choice we would reluctantly accept this compromise. But the West Coast has been given $120 million and continued logging for nearly 2 years – an unpalatable and weak stance.”

“Before planning protest, we want to know if Ministers are prepared to give similar attention to achieving a good conservation outcome as they have to helping everyone using rimu. In particular, we want to see whether the government is willing to move the loggers out of the key rimu forests of Okarito and Saltwater.”

Contact Dean Baigent-Mercer 04 3835168

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