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West Coast log salvage - Politicians miss the point

27th June 2014

West Coast log salvage - Politicians miss the point

Hard working New Zealanders will once again be wondering what it is that politicians actually contribute to the economy after yesterday’s debate in Parliament. Both National and Labour members argued from entrenched positions. The Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA) says the issue that most practical people in our country would see is not one on the principles of protecting native forest. It is more likely the opportunity to provide jobs for a temporary log salvage operation.

FICA members are active conservationists. New Zealand’s loggers and silviculturalists are often dealing with other environmental issues as well in their daily workplaces. Their crews regularly work alongside sensitive areas, such as when archeological sites are uncovered. Our members and their workers are proud to work in one of the most sustainable and renewable resource industries on the planet. Our members plant more trees than anyone else in New Zealand and not just radiata pine seedlings.

FICA’s spokesman John Stulen says, “Our members’ view is that politicians on both sides of the parliamentary chamber seem to be arguing from entrenched positions and in doing so are completely missing the point about what has happened and how best to deal with the outcome. The devastated native forest can be salvage-logged and then re-planted to help nuture and restore a protected native forest as once was there.”

FICA argues that, yes, New Zealand has a well-earned, excellent reputation for protecting our native forests. We also have a need for using resources in a sustainable way to allow us to provide work and well-being to rural communities for the benefit of all New Zealand’s economy.

FICA says, “Don’t confuse native forest protection priniciples with the need to clean up after a single adverse event. With log exports boom turning to a bust in the past few weeks there are certainly plenty of logging workers in need of a job. But their livelihoods and their health needs to be protected in every possible way if these logs are to be salvaged for commercial sale.”

John Stulen added, ” FICA is far more concerned that the well-being of workers and contractors is the utmost principle that is upheld when salvage logging is carried out. Not one stick of the salvaged timber is worth the cost of harming a single worker in any way. Modern tree- harvesting technology is quite capable of providing a safe and low impact system for salvaging logs from the devastated forests. FICA member contractors are also well-placed to do this work.”

Another principle that needs to be placed more at the heart of this debate is that the price of the log salvage and forest restoration work needs to be secondary to maintaining a safe workplace for everyone involved at all times.

About Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA)
FICA’s role is to help forest contractors and their clients work smarter and safer. This is achieved through professional development programmes including regional seminars, workshops and networking meetings around key forest product regions of the country.

ENDS

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