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Native Forest Action disgusted by new logging plan

Media Release Native Forest Action 27 July 2001

Native Forest Action disgusted by new logging plans

Native Forest Action is disgusted with Forever Timber's plans to log large areas of native forests on the West Coast. Native Forest Action and other conservation groups successfully lobbied the government to compensate the West Coast for

ending logging in its publicly owned native forests. "It is appalling that some of the $135m compensation could be used to fund a new logging scheme," said Native Forest Action spokesperson Peter Russell. "We will continue to encourage the public to boycott native timber with renewed vigour, with particular emphasis on beech and rimu."

"Fommer Timberlands executive Kit Richards and National MP Nick Smith suggested Coasters have made a laughing stock of the government," said Mr Russell. "However, 130,000ha of mostly high conservation value forests will still be taken away

from loggers, with the support of many West Coasters. The economics of the logging plans are also so questionable that this new 'get rich Kit' scheme could easily fail to succeed. The biggest irony is that people like Mr Richards disapproved of the government's compensation package, but are amongst the first to take a bite out of it."

"The forests in question may in be privately owned, but they are everyones' natural heritage," said Mr Russell. "These forests are far too ecologically important to damage them through logging activities. Only seven percent of our old-growth, lowland forests remain. The so-called 'sustainable' logging plans would be no more ecologically sustainable than Timberlands' PR spun plans. Privately-owned native forest is at risk of being severaly damaged because of some greedy people's egos."

"NFA is unhappy that new private logging schemes are being considered while relevant laws are so weak. Before schemes like Forever Timber's are considered we should revise the Forests Act to stop destructive logging touted as 'sustainable management'. Native logging promoters appear unable to accept that public opinion moved on long ago.

"Native Forest Action would like to see Forever Timber's logging plans if Mr Richards is prepared to make them public. We would also like to know what the conditions are on the $400,000 loan, and if and when it is to be repaid."

For further information, contact: Peter Russell Native Forest Action Ph 04/383-5168

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