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Shandwick Apologise To New Zealand – NFA

Shandwick, Timberlands’ Wellington public relations company, should apologise to New Zealand for all the secretive manipulation it has done for Timberlands, said Native Forest Action spokesperson, Dean Baigent-Mercer.

Native Forest Action and others are protesting outside Shandwick's Wellington office at lunchtime today (12.15pm to 1pm) to call upon Shandwick to apologise, and to highlight to New Zealanders that these shameful practices are not acceptable.

The book, “Secrets and Lies” by Nicky Hager and Bob Burton, holds proof of this public relations company's unethical practices. “Since 1991 Shandwick has advised Timberlands to adopt many unethical and subversive public relations tactics and strategies. There seemed to be no consideration of ethical boundaries to what they were prepared to do,” said Mr Baigent-Mercer.

– Shandwick has acted as a political lobbyist for Timberlands in Parliament, which is unacceptable behaviour for a state-owned company, or indeed any company.

– Shandwick recommended the creation of a community front group as a 'West Coast voice' arguing for Timberlands' agenda. (p.157). Later, the company drafted letters for Timberlands to pass on to ‘independent’ West Coast people in the front group to sign.

– Shandwick consultant Rob McGregor used his contacts in the Civil Aviation Authority to help head off a CAA investigation into an incident where Heli Harvest, Timberlands' helicopter contractor, put a tree-sitter’s life at risk.

– Shandwick infiltrated environment groups gather information.

– Shandwick attacked the funding sources of environment groups opposed to the logging. It looked for 'dirt' on the Body Shop, who had given money to Native Forest Action, and then tried to get a business paper to write a damning story (p. 51).

“There are many other examples of dirty dealings documented in the book, the evidence for which all comes from Shandwick’s own internal papers.”

“Shandwick should apologise to those it has manipulated, to environment groups it has harassed, and to the New Zealand public who it has deceived,” said Mr Baigent-Mercer. “The company should be held to account for these tactics which are not acceptable in New Zealand.”

“We are protesting because we were the target of many of their unethical practices. As people exercising our public right to advocate for the protection of the forests, we find the role this public relations company has played to attempt to denigrate our campaign highly objectionable and totally unacceptable,” said Mr Baigent-Mercer.

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