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Timberlands Board and CEO should be sacked

Environment and Conservation
Organisations of NZ Inc
P O Box 11-057, Wellington; email eco@reddfish.co.nz; Tel (04)
385- For Friday 15 October 1999 -
Wellington - Media Release

Timberlands Board and CEO Hilliard should be sacked

The Environment and Conservation Organisations (ECO) called on the Government to sack the Timberlands Board and CEO Dave Hilliard for entering into beech logging contracts for forests they do not have resource consents to operate in.

ECO Chairperson, Stephen Blyth, said he was amazed that Timberlands could sign contracts before applying for resource consents under the Resource Management Act.

"Timberlands have only just applied for resource consents for beech logging with the Buller and Tasman District Council. Submissions close on 17 November and a hearing will probably occur in December."

"Given the highly politicised nature of this issue Timberland's timing is highly inappropriate. It smells like Dave Hilliard is pulling a swifty on Labour's policy to end the beech logging."

Mr Blyth said given that resource consents could be appealed any decision on whether these forests could be logged would not be resolved for at least a year.

"How can the Government allow an SOE to sign contracts, if they do in fact exist, without first following the procedures under the Resource Management Act."

Mr Blyth said this raised serious questions over the governance of the Timberlands Board and are issues that should be looked at by Audit NZ.

"SOE Minister, Tony Ryall, should sack the Timberlands Board and Dave Hilliard as they are clearly acting in a cavalier manner and not considering the possibility that consents will not be granted."

Mr Blyth said these forests are rich in native species supporting more than 26 species of native birds, many of them threatened species such as great spotted kiwi, kaka, parakeets and native fish.

"Timberlands have yet to prove that logging is sustainable, especially as its proposals will severely degrade the forest and remove large old trees which are required by hole nesting threatened birds species such as kaka and parakeets/kakariki."

Mr Blyth said a Department of Conservation report has already described these forests as of "outstanding wildlife value".

Ends

Contact: Stephen Blyth ph 04 383 5727


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