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Ratepayers Money Thrown Down the 'CAN' - NFA

A $4,000 donation to Coast Action Network (CAN) from the Grey District Council has been likened to "throwing money down the can" by Native Forest
Action (NFA).

On Monday 9 August, the Grey District Council voted to pay CAN $4,000 from
its discretionary grants fund. This follows a donation last month for the
same amount from the Westland District Council.

"For a District Council to throw hard-earned ratepayers' money to a group
that apologises and fronts a company's wishes is completely inappropriate,"
said Dean Baigent-Mercer of Native Forest Action. "It means legitimate local
projects will miss out on essential funding."

"I'm sure most West Coasters see through CAN's shallow references to other
industries, such as farming and coal mining, and realise they exist purely
for Timberlands' sake. It's reached the point where most people can't tell
CAN and Timberlands apart. CAN is Timberlands' trained puppy who defends its
master whenever Timberlands says 'jump'".

"The real insult for West Coasters is that while CAN is trying to convince
everyone that Timberlands' logging plans are ecologically sustainable and
essential for the local economy, Timberlands is plotting how it can best be
privatised."

Peter Russell, NFA's Conservation Officer in Westport said, "It's not hard
to see who CAN really represents. CAN routinely claims NFA wants to demolish
the Coast's 'forestry industry', even though we are promoting plantation
timber production as an acceptable alternative."

"Most of CAN's propaganda and so-called 'public' meetings are focused on
preserving Timberlands' native logging operations. Their spokespeople often
claim that all people attending their meetings support Timberlands, even
though many West Coasters strongly oppose them and only attend their
meetings out of concern for the West Coast's economic and environmental
future," said Mr Russell.

"Rural and urban folk up and down the Coast have been contacting
conservation groups for help because they are angry and frustrated with
Timberlands' destructive and wasteful logging activities and also being
misrepresented by TWC and CAN."

The Buller District Council recently rejected a similar application from CAN
for funding.

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