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Forests debate finally gets a hearing

Sustainable logging of our indigenous forests has finally been debated and although the Environment Court wasn't allowed to listen, this weekend's Bluegreens Forum did, National Conservation spokesperson Eric Roy said.

"It's a pity the Government wouldn't allow the facts behind sustainable logging to be heard by the Environment Court. Both sides of the debate have robust arguments that deserve to be heard by New Zealanders," Mr Roy said.

The Bluegreens Forum is on in Nelson this weekend. Speakers in the debate on the sustainable logging of our indigenous forests were Kit Richards a forestry consultant and former Timberlands advisor, Bill Gilbertson Deputy President of Forest and Bird and Graham Whyte of Forplan Services Ltd.

"The legacy of our indigenous forestry industry is one of complete devastation. But today's forestry companies aren't cowboys only interested in making a quick buck. They know that if their business is to have a future they must play a part in preserving our forests.

"National believes the sustainability debate deserves a hearing. The scare-mongering from the Greens and Labour on this issue has been completely irresponsible. New Zealand was a world leader in the development of techniques to log our indigenous forests while preserving the forest environment.

"The Government's ad hoc approach to our indigenous forests is more about 'urban warm fuzzies' than critical issues. Our forest environment is a long-term issue for our country that will outlive the term of any Government.

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"The cost of locking up our forests is too great. Money will need to be poured in to pest control if we are going to keep our forest estate up to the standard established by the forestry companies.

"At the moment New Zealand is importing $800-$1,000 million in forest products. We are importing someone else's indigenous timber from forests that are not managed to the standards that were proposed in New Zealand.

"Sustainable management is a tool for protecting our diversity, not for destroying it. The Bluegreens will be working with us to communicate the facts to New Zealanders so we can have a well informed debate about out indigenous forests policy," Mr Roy said.

ENDS

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