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Photos prove that massacred trees were healthy

31 July 2008

Photos prove that massacred trees were healthy

The Green Party has obtained photos of the mature rainforest trees felled by Transit last week, which show they were not rotten and dangerous, and should never have been removed from the protected World Heritage site they grew in.

The ancient trees were cut down within the last week by Transit NZ, because they posed a supposed risk to cars travelling on State Highway 6 in South Westland.

"These photos show healthy trees, with normal rot for mature forest giants. Some of them may well have graced our highways for centuries more. The decision to remove them sets an appalling precedent for a national chainsaw massacre," Green Party Conservation Spokesperson Metiria Turei says.

"Yet these unique trees, supposedly so rotten they could have fallen onto the road at anytime, will now be milled into timber and possibly sold for a profit.

"If Transit can now cut down the giants of our forests because of a potential risk to cars, does this mean all the other magnificent rimu and kahikatea along West Coast highways can be removed? Can Waipoua Forest kauri now be destroyed - and sold - because a car might drive into one?

"The Minister of Conservation seems incorrectly advised that the ancient trees were cut down under guidance from a qualified arborist. DoC itself has acknowledged concerns 'that healthy trees have been mistakenly felled'.

"The Green Party says that only dead trees should be removed - after all, one of the key reasons that highways like SH6 are scenic routes is the magnificent forest they pass through.

"This chainsaw massacre sets a bad precedent that it is acceptable to fell healthy, ancient native trees and to mill them for profit - surely a tempting idea for councils nationwide to earn a little extra cash.

"The Government needs to make it absolutely clear that this is NOT acceptable. They must guarantee that no more protected trees will be cut down on the West Coast or elsewhere, and that any proposal to cull native trees will involve appropriate community consultation, which was clearly lacking in this case".

ENDS

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