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Smith's spurious claims rejected

19 July 2001 Media Statement

Smith's spurious claims rejected

The government tonight rejected National MP Nick Smith's claims about the logging of private indigenous forests on the West Coast as utterly spurious.

"The government's policy was to stop the logging of native forests on Crown-owned land and that is what we have done," Acting Conservation Minister Matt Robson said.

"We have moved to protect 130,000 hectares – an area more than twice the size of greater Auckland – on the West Coast and we are proud of that achievement.

"The logging activities of Mr Kit Richards' company are on privately-owned land and are lawful.

"Dr Smith should know that his own government in the 1990s passed the Forests Amendment Act providing for logging on private land under certain conditions.

"Issuing a statement saying that private foresters are logging under that legislation is extraordinarily silly.

"The government has provided the West Coast with a regional economic development fund of $120 million and the allocation of the money is up to West Coasters.

"People applying to the fund must satisfy the trustees of the viability of their business propositions," Matt Robson said.

ENDS

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