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Greens Philosophical About Private Beech Logging

The Greens are "quite philosophical" about the use of $400,000 of West Coast compensation money for the sustainable harvest of native beech trees on private land, according to Green Party Forestry spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street MP.

"The Green Party always expected that at least some of the $120 million given to the West Coast in compensation for the scrapping of native logging on Crown land would end up in new logging projects - which was why we were in favour of including pine forests and relatively less cash in the package.

Mr Ewen-Street said as long as the project meets all the appropriate resource consents, which it appears to have done - then the private owners have a legal right to get a return from the trees on their land.

"The Primary Production Select Committee is presently conducting an inquiry into the sustainable management of indigenous forests and has inspected a number of impressive small-scale beech operations around the country.

"Any harvesting must remain based on the sustainability of the forests, rather than on the sustainability of the logging, which is a very different concept. Each tree removed must be replaced with multiple seedlings of the same species and a pest control program put in place to reduce the impact of possums, goats, pigs and deer.

While the Green Party is "reasonably comfortable" with the sustainable aerial harvest of beech species, we are opposed to large scale ground logging of beech and totally opposed to any kind of harvest of lowland podocarp species (such as rimu, matai, etc) which are under threat.

"Obviously we would prefer that the money was put towards projects which didn't extract the most valuable resources of the Coast, but we accept that logging on private land is one outlet for that money. Our biggest fear is that the compensation money will be used to push a major road through the Heaphy track."

Mr Ewen-Street said he is concerned, however, at the lack of public consultation on this project.

"The Government should tighten up the Forests Amendments Act to make sure that local communities are fully informed about what happening to forests in their area."

Ends


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