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Helen Clark Should Front Up To Coasters - ACT

ACT Deputy Leader and Forestry Spokesman Hon Ken Shirley today said Labour Leader Helen Clark should have the decency to front up to Coasters and explain why she has reneged on her promise to honour the West Coast Forest Accord.

"Michael Cullen is in for a rough ride on the Coast today. He has been sent to the Coast by Helen Clark to try to explain why Labour has turned its back on Coasters. I will be at the protest meeting this afternoon to reiterate ACT's total commitment to the Accord and to the Timberlands Beech Scheme.

"I will be challenging Michael Cullen at that meeting to explain why his Leader has gone back on her word and is prepared to walk away from the people of the West Coast.

"Labour's policy to end all production forestry from Crown owned indigenous forest would be devastating for the West Coast if Labour ever became the Government.

"This is a very serious u-turn by Helen Clark. It shows that the Labour Leader cannot be trusted to keep her word. In 1990 she pledged to uphold the West Coast Accord. She has openly reneged upon that pledge and betrayed the people of the West Coast.

"Labour is in real trouble on the West Coast. Their forestry policy has sent shock waves through the Party organisation with at least one key Party worker resigning in disgust.

"Having spent the last ten years working in forestry both in New Zealand and overseas I can state unequivocally that the Timberlands beech logging scheme is a world leading example of ecologically based sustainable forestry management.

"Labour signed up to the Accord and has no right to break that contract with the people of the West Coast.

"I am spending the next three days on the West Coast. ACT's support for the Timberlands Beech scheme and the Accord will be at the top of the agenda," said Hon Ken Shirley.


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