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Trees A Treasure

10 October 2006

Trees A Treasure

New Zealand First is concerned that the proposed sale of Carter Holt Harvey forests to a single American timber investment group may be able to occur without Overseas Investment Commission permission.

“The proposed sale of the 250,000 hectare estate to a single American buyer is anathema to New Zealand First, and to all New Zealanders who care about the protection of New Zealand jobs and land ownership,” said Forestry spokesperson Doug Woolerton.

“The ability of Carter Holt Harvey to circumvent the involvement of the OIC by selling its shareholdings in the 100 or more individual companies that own the leases is a clear example of the ineffectiveness of the commission to step in when it matters.

“Challenges by Maori leaseholders look like being the only avenue remaining to keep at least some of the earmarked forests in New Zealand hands.

“New Zealand First believes that foreign investment must be in the interests of New Zealand. The private interest of foreign shareholders is not our concern, the public interest of New Zealanders is.

“If it was up to us, our forests would not have been sold off in the first place, but unfortunately, with 70% of our forests in foreign hands, the horse has well and truly bolted.

“We can only hope that the major players in the industry focus on growing the resource and not stripping it bare,” said Mr Woolerton.

ENDS

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