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Protection Of Timberland's Forests Welcomed

Protection Of Timberland's Forests Welcomed: Oceans The Next Challenge

The transfer to protected status of the West coast forests formerly held by the state owned logging company, Timberlands West Coast has been warmly welcomed today by the national alliance of organisations with a concern for the environment, ECO.

"Congratulations to Helen Clark, Pete Hodgson and Sandra Lee and all the others in government who have done the right thing here, for the environment, for the future and for New Zealanders. It has been as plain as day for years that logging native forest was a fool's game and it is great to see sense prevail, said Cath Wallace, speaking for ECO. "We salute these ministers for standing up to the people who can't see beyond the short term.

"We recognise too, all those people, many within our own member organisations, from Native Forest Action to National Council of Women, who have worked in many different ways for this protection. We pay particular tribute to those environmentalists on the West Coast who have often been put under severe personal pressure for their views, said Stephen Blyth, chairperson of ECO.

"The New Zealand decision will attract attention internationally and give a little substance to the claim of New Zealand's environmental conscience.

"Oceans are the next big challenge," says Cath Wallace. "We must not forget that while we protect the remains of our forests and spend up to retrieve from extinction forest bird species, conservation at sea is urgently needed."

"There are a horrifyingly large number of seabirds species such as albatrosses that are "threatened" and many marine mammals are drowned each year. Worst of all, destruction of underwater animal communities continues virtually unchecked. There is an open frontier mentality out there in fisheries.

"There are probably extinctions occurring without us even knowing and yet the most elementary environmental assessments and protections do not happen. We are looking to Pete Hodgson, who is Fisheries Minister, to change the systems of fisheries management to allow public input and recognition of the need for much better decision systems by the Ministry of Fisheries.

"The government has launched an Oceans Policy Review but this has not had much publicity. It is imperative that this is given the same environmental direction and attention that has been given to the protection of native forests. It is also essential that people throughout New Zealand press for better controls on the impacts of fishing, especially trawling which is hugely destructive.


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