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Clarification Sought On End To Rimu Logging

Native Forest Action today asked the government to clarify which native forest logging the West Coast economic development package is in exchange for.

"When the package was announced, national media sources stated it was in exchange for an end to all native logging by Timberlands," said Native Forest Action spokesperson Dean Baigent-Mercer. "However, some West Coast media have referred to it as an exchange for ending beech forest logging only".

Labour's pre-election promise was also that the development package would compensate for the end of all Timberlands' native forest logging.

"West Coast mayors and MP Damien O'Connor have reiterated the idea that the development package is linked only to the beech logging scheme. Last month's meeting between West Coast mayors and the government seems to have resulted in two different stories".

"Mr O'Connor has also publicly stated he believed the rimu contracts are likely to run for the next seven years. Native Forest Action understands this is not the case. Even Westco Lagan, who receives most of Timberlands' rimu, has stated that the rimu contracts have the same 'force majeure' clause as the beech contracts, enabling the government to cancel them at will".

"Like the recently cancelled beech timber supply contracts, rimu contracts were hastily signed before the election in an attempt to force the incoming government's hand".

"We seek clarification of the relationship between the economic development package, the cancelled beech scheme and continuing rimu logging in forests including Orikaka, North Okarito and Saltwater".

"There is absolutely no reason - legal or otherwise - for the rimu logging to continue for another day".

For further information contact: Native Forest Action national spokesperson Dean Baigent-Mercer: 04-383-5168

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