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Conservationists Now Focus On Rimu Logging

Yesterday's move by the government to scrap Timberlands' beech logging scheme was heartily welcomed by Native Forest Action. "This is the fourth time the beech scheme has been defeated by public opposition" said Peter Russell, National Spokesperson for NFA. "It's a fantastic outcome for New Zealanders. Kiwis will be relieved that a massive new logging scheme is not about to begin amongst their last remaining lowland Rainforests."

"We expect the government will now move quickly to end Timberlands' rimu logging operation" said Mr Russell. "Labour's election campaign involved a pledge to stop beech and rimu logging on public land in exchange for economic assistance for the West Coast region. Voters showed at the election that they wanted this outcome and we aim to ensure the West Coast economy is delivered its part of the deal" said Mr Russell.

Claims that hundreds or thousands of jobs will be lost because of an end to the logging have never been substantiated. "Now it's clear the beech scheme will not proceed the number of jobs claimed to be at stake will probably rise" said Mr Russell. However, with Timberlands' $70m worth of plantations being allocated to a West Coast economic trust, many more jobs can be generated that were ever going to result from native logging".

"It's sad that some of those who supported the beech scheme are still dwelling on the myth that it would not harm the forests" said Mr Russell. "Timberlands' expensive PR campaign hasn't fooled many people though. The new government and the 10,000 people who made submissions against the beech scheme in 19998 obviously know you can't protect Rainforests with chainsaws".

ends

For further information contact:

Peter Russell,
National spokesperson
Native Forest Action
Phone: 04 383 5168

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