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Government SILNA Package Welcomed

Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society

Wilderness Lodge
Arthurs Pass
NEW ZEALAND

03 318 9246 ph
gerry@wildernesslodge.co.nz

12 May, 2002

Media Statement

Government SILNA Package Welcomed

The Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society said today that the Government’s SILNA package provides an important opportunity for SILNA forest owners who want to protect their forests for future generations.

The society congratulated the Government for finally resolving an ecological tragedy and social injustice that has lasted for nearly a century.

Forestry Minister Pete Hodgson today announced the long awaited SILNA package. In it Government is to provide $16.1 million to the Nature Heritage Fund for negotiated conservation settlements on SILNA forest blocks that are considered priorities for protection from logging.

The Society’s National President, Dr Gerry McSweeney said that there are SILNA owners who want to protect their forests, and Government has finally provided a means for them to be able to, without suffering further economic losses.

“We are delighted that Government will grant special SILNA money to the Nature Heritage Fund. The grant is generous and on a par with previous settlements for SILNA land on Stewart Island and in Waitutu. The great thing about this one is that it will not rob the Nature Heritage Fund.” Dr McSweeney said.

Conservation through out New Zealand suffered under National Government’s earlier settlements, because they used up much of the Nature Heritage Funds and deprived other private owners of nature conservation opportunities.

The latest package should also end the controversial export of native forest wood chips and whole logs.

“We are pleased that never again will there be export shipments of woodchips or logs from our precious native forests. Wood chipping has been an incredibly destructive industry, which has in the past resulted in the clearfelling of thousands of hectares of native forest in many of New Zealand’s most scenic areas including Nelson, the Catlins and Southland.”

However the package will not end the logging of native forests in the Catlins or in Southland and SILNA owners will be able to continue with unsustainable logging, if they choose, at least in the interim.

Forest and Bird hopes that the SILNA owners will now be encouraged to protect their unlogged forests and move to more sustainable regimes on the forests they are currently logging.

ENDS


Contact: Gerry McSweeney, National President, 03 318 9246
Sue Maturin, Southern Conservation Officer 03 4876 125h, 03 477 9677w, 025 222 5092

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