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Another step towards protection of native forests

Wednesday, 18 October 2000 Media Statement

Another step towards protection of West Coast native forests


The Government has taken another important step towards its goal of ending all native forest logging on Crown-managed land, Minister of Forestry Pete Hodgson said today.

Mr Hodgson was commenting on the passage through Parliament today of the Forests (West Coast Accord) Bill, which terminates the 1986 West Coast Accord.

The Bill enables the status of West Coast native forest land previously subject to the Accord - and currently managed by Timberlands West Coast Ltd - to be changed to conservation areas, reserves, additions to national parks or unallocated Crown land as appropriate.

"Getting this bill through Parliament is a significant step towards fulfilling our election promise on native logging," Mr Hodgson said.

"The Accord had become primarily a source of wasteful and expensive litigation, rather than a productive agreement. It is time to move on to a new era of enhanced protection for our remaining lowland native forests."

Mr Hodgson said the Government would now proceed to consult with the board of Timberlands West Coast on pursuing an early end to its remaining rimu logging operations, proposed to be by 31 March 2002.

An independent expert panel is reviewing the conservation values of the Timberlands native forests and will recommend to ministers which areas should become conservation land or unallocated Crown land.

"I welcome the passage of this Bill and I look forward to the day when large tracts of our remaining pristine lowland native forest are at last given full protection, including in national parks where undoubtedly they belong," Mr Hodgson said.


ENDS

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