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Rimu contracts should be cancelled like beech

Native Forest Action Media Release 14 December 1999

Rimu contracts should be cancelled like beech contracts

Native Forest Action has welcomed the release of details about Timberlands' rimu supply contracts. It appears they are just as dodgy and politically motivated as the soon to be cancelled beech contracts.

On September 7 this year the Labour caucus decided to stop all native logging on Crown land as soon as existing contracts expire. On September 10 this policy was made public. Between the caucus decision and the policy announcement, Timberlands hastily signed several contracts for supply. "As 'existing contracts' these completely lack credibility: said Peter Russell, Native Forest Action spokesperson.

Labour has repeatedly stated its promise to stop all native logging on public land as soon as possible. "Labour never intended 'existing contracts' to include such hastily signed contracts" said Mr Russell. "This was a desperate, last minute attempt to hoodwink Labour and head off moves to protect the forests in question".

"Until now, the rimu contracts have been the only obstacle to Labour ending all the native logging" said Mr Russell. "Now it's known that they're just another Timberlands trick there's nothing to stop the government cancelling them. What a great Xmas present it would be for New Zealanders if the government stopped all logging of publicly owned native forests before the new millennium".

"Sawmilling companies who signed the rimu contracts should not have expected them to be upheld" said Mr Russell. "Sensible business practice would have been to wait until after the election before signing any such contracts. However, they were somehow drawn into playing politics with Timberlands. The writing has been on the wall for a long time that native logging is coming to an end".

The forests threatened with logging are important because they involve some of our last remaining unlogged lowland rainforests. "The forests provide essential habitats for threatened species and include Orikaka, Okarito and Saltwater forests" said Mr Russell. "It would be criminal if our ancient forests continue to be degraded by logging and road construction because of the dirty tricks employed by a Crown owned company".

For Further information contact: Peter Russell, National Spokesperson Native Forest Action Ph 04 383 5168 or 04 970 0048


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