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Forestry Minister Accused On Double Standard


Forestry Minister Pete Hodgson has been questioned about double standards in sustainable harvesting of native trees. Terry Dunleavy, national convenor of Bluegreens which advises the National Party on environment and heritage matters, has called on Mr Hodgson to explain the discrepancy in Government actions between its assistance to the owners of Silna native forests, and its 1999 ban of sustainable logging by Timberlands West Coast Ltd.

"It has taken the Government two and a half years to do anything about the clear felling of native trees in Silna forests, but they couldn't wait to get stuck into Timberlands within days of assuming office in 1999," said Mr Dunleavy.

"It was Minister Hodgson who directed Timberlands to withdraw from its appeal to the Environment Court for consent for its plans to log one tree her hectare per year in the 7% of West Coast indigenous forests allocated to Timberlands in the previous Labour Government's West Coast Accord in 1986. That Minister refused to listen to pleas from environmentalists and experienced foresters that the Timberlands proposals were environmentally and economically sustainable.

"Now, two and a half years later, far from preventing sustainable logging in Silna forests, this same Minister is offering assistance, including what he calls reasonable costs paid by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, for the development by Silna owners of sustainable forest management plans.

"Minister Hodgson is today offering the Maori owners of Silna forests what he denied the directors of Timberlands two and a half years ago. I hope it doesn't mean one law for Maori and something entirely the opposite for anyone else, but it sure looks like a double standard, which the Minister needs to explain," said Mr Dunleavy.

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Terry Dunleavy, National convenor, Bluegreens Phones 09-486 3859, mobile 025 836688

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