Native Forest Action

Campaign History ...The Story so far


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This page documents NFA's struggle with the government logger Timberlands West Coast and the logging of West Coast Native forests. It is a work in progress, but will be updated regularly. Most are press releases issued by NFA but many are from the government and other political parties and NGO's. Just click on the one you want to read about. They are arranged in chronological order.



 


Index

  • 10/11/97 - Press release: ECOLOGISTS URGE RETHINK OF WEST COAST LOGGING PLANS
  • 10 11/97 - Letter to Prime Minister Bolger signed by 13 professional ecologists
  • 13/11/97: Press Release: JENNY SHIPLEY MISLED PARLIAMENT OVER WEST COAST FORESTS
  • 07/01/98 -Press Release: NEW YEAR PROTEST AT WEST COAST LOGGING HEADQUARTERS
  • 00/03/98 - Briefing Paper for the Buller District Council
  • 05/05/98 -News Release: PARLIAMENT "WILDLIFE CEMETERY" PROTEST
  • 05/05/98 -News Release: GOVERNMENT LETTING DOWN CONSERVATION AND THE WEST COAST
  • 27/07/98 - Press Release: TIMBERLANDS IN FINANCIAL CRISIS - SQUANDERING NATIVE FOREST
  • 04/08/98 - Press release : BANNER HUNG FROM PINE ON ONE TREE HILL
  • 07/08/98- Press Release - Giant Condom erected at Te Papa
  • 09/08/98 - Press Release - Activists Strip In Protest Against Native Logging
  • 12/08/98 - Press release: NUDE DANCING OF THE FOREST FAIRIES
  • 14/08/98 - Press Release : BILATERAL AGREEMENT AT THE PASS
  • 18/08/98 - Press Release : BILATERAL AGREEMENT AT THE PASS A SUCCESS
  • 03/09/98 - Press Release: WEST COAST ACCORD: CONSERVATIONISTS CALL FOR CLARITY
  • 06/09/98 - NFA Statement: WHITE HERON BLOCKS ROAD INTO OKARITO RIMU FOREST
  • 06/09/98 - Press Release from Green Party: ENQUIRY NEEDED OVER OKARITO
  • 09/09/98 - Press release: LEAKED LOGGING PLANS CONFIRM CONSERVATIONISTS’ WORST FEARS
  • 09/09/98 - Press release: Beech plans ridiculous (Labour)
  • 09/09/98 - Press release: Sustainable Beech Management Plans (National)
  • 10/09/98 - Press release: Beech scheme unjustified (Labour)
  • 10/09/98 - Press Release: Phil And Helen's Beech Scheme Was Twice The Size (National)
  • 10/09/98 - Press release: Timberlands Can't Be Trusted With Native Forest (Greens)
  • 10/09/98 - Press release: Ryall distorts facts on forests says Clark (Labour)
  • 10/09/98 - Press Release: BEECH FOREST LOGGING PLANS WILL HELP DEMISE OF MRS SHIPLEY’S GOVERNMENT
  • 10/09/98 - Press release: Coasters need job opportunities, not think-big projects.
  • 11/09/98 - Press release: Will Damien O'Connor Desert The West Coast Too?
  • 22/09/98 - Press release: NFA Release regional Development Policy
  • 04/10/98- Press release: NATIONAL WILL RELEASE ‘THINK BIG’ BEECH FOREST LOGGING PLANS THIS WEEK
  • 06/10/98 - Press Release: NOTHING NEW IN TIMBERLANDS BEECH LOGGING PLANS
  • 06/10/98 - Press Release: Beech Scheme Release
  • 06/10/98 - Press Release - SALE OF COAL CORP - A SIGN OF THINGS TO COME
  • 20/11/98 - news release: THOUSANDS OF ANTI-LOGGING SUBMISSIONS DELIVERED TO GOVERNMENT AND – POINTEDLY – ALSO TO OPPOSITION PARTIES
  • 21/11/98 - News release - UNPRECEDENTED INTERNATIONAL INTEREST IN THE FATE OF NEW ZEALAND RAINFORESTS
  • 23/12/98 1998 GOVERNMENT BLIND AND DEAF TO AVALANCHE OF PUBLIC OPPOSITION AGAINST BEECH LOGGING PROPOSALS
  • 25 11/ 98 CRI report exposes Timberlands propaganda
  • 29/12/98 - MRS SHIPLEY: "ENVIRONMENTAL VANDAL OF THE YEAR"
  • 30/12/98 - Conservationists highlight government smokescreen and contempt for public opinion
  • 8 /1/99 - QUIET CONSERVATIONIST ISSUED WITH TRESPASS WARNING FOR ATTENDING PUBLIC MEETING
  • 13/01/99 - CONCRETE PROOF COASTERS WON’T BENEFIT FROM BEECH LOGGING SCHEME
  • 14/01/99 - AUSTRALIAN ENVIRONMENTALISTS ENDORSE BOYCOTT OF GUNNS
  • 14/01/99 - PRIVATISATION PLANS FOR TIMBERLANDS WEST COAST LTD IMMINENT
  • 25/01/99 - BLOCKADE HALTS LOGGERS
  • 25/01/99 - NFA BLOCKADE HALTS LOGGERS
  • 25/01/99 - 8 ARRESTS AT LOGGING BLOCKADE
  • 2/2/99 West Coast Regional Press Release - ACTIVISTS DISABLE LOGGING HELICOPTER
  • 2 /2/99 National Media Press Release - ACTIVISTS DISABLE LOGGING HELICOPTER
  • 2/2/99 - SEVEN CONTROVERSIAL ARRESTS OVER LOGGING HELICOPTER ESCALATES DEBATE
  • 03/02/99 Media Release - FIGHTING FUND SET UP TO SUPPORT ARRESTED PROTESTERS
  • 10/02/99 Press Release - Thai monks lend support to NZ rainforest activists.
  • 23/02/99 - Press Release - Still Hope For Pine Plantings
  • 23/02/99 - Press Release - Strong Local Support for Conserving Public Native Forests
  • 15/03/99 - Press Release - "POSH" LAUNCH OF ECO-BOOK OUTSIDE RAINFOREST TIMBER SHOP
  • 14/07/99- Media Release - NON-VIOLENT PROTEST VINDICATED
  • 10 / 8 / 99 - ANTI-NATIONAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN LAUNCH BY ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP
  • 11/8/99 - TIMBERLANDS' BEECH LOGGING SCHEME NOT SUSTAINABLE - PROOF
  • 12 / 8 /99 - RATEPAYERS' MONEY 'THROWN DOWN THE CAN' - NFA
  • 17/08/99 - Secrets & Llies Book published by Nicky Hager
  • 17 / 8 / 99 - New Book's Revelations Shocking
  • 17 / 8 / 99 - Rod Urges Ryal to Set Up Timberlands
  • 17/08/99 - Shipley has no response to book claims
  • 17/08/99 - Timberlands Evidence to be Probed - Alliance -
  • 18 / 8 / 99 - Forest & Bird Take Prime Minister to Task
  • 18/8/99 - Opposition says SOE's must follow policy, not make it
  • 18 / 8 / 99 - Shandwick must apologise to New Zealand
  • 20 / 8 / 99 - FORMAL COMPLAINT TO BE MADE TO PUBLIC RELATIONS INSTITUTE OVER TIMBERLANDS' PR CAMPAIGN ON FRIDAY MORNING
  • 20 / 8/ 99 - Protest at Civil Aviation Authority
  • 24/10/99 - TIMBERLANDS AND TONY RYALL: THE TAIL IS WAGGING THE DOG
  • 30/8/99 - MINISTER CONFIRMS PLANS TO PRIVATISE TIMBERLANDS
  • 2/9/99 - TIMBERLANDS SURPRISINGLY PAYS NO DIVIDEND - AGAIN
  • 10/9/99 - NATIVE FOREST ACTION SUPPORTIVE OF LABOUR'S STRONG STANCE ON NATIVE FORESTS
  • 11/9/99 - HYSTERICAL REACTION PREDICTABLE AND UNSUBSTANCIATED - NFA
  • 15/9/99 - National, Act, and NZ First marching to Timberlands' drum
  • 15/9/99 - Locals supported Cullen during Coast visit

  • Giant kakariki arrested outside parliament buildings


     

    10 November 1997: Press Release

    ECOLOGISTS URGE RETHINK OF WEST COAST LOGGING PLANS

    Thirteen professional ecologists have sent a joint statement to the government today expressing concern over current and planned logging of West Coast native forests by the SOE Timberlands West Coast. The ecologists, including prominent specialists in plant, bird, and insect ecology, warned the government that continued or expanded degradation of native forest habitats by logging would contribute to further extinctions of native animals.

    "We think the government needs to know that, despite claims to the contrary by Timberlands, the planned logging of large areas of beech forests is almost certainly not ecologically sustainable", Canterbury University plant ecologist Dave Kelly said on behalf of the group. "The loser would be New Zealand's natural biodiversity, which the government has made international commitments to protect."

    The statement, which was sent to all the key Ministers involved in the Timberlands issue, pointed out that Timberlands has refused to release the information it holds about the forests. It says that a "careful scientific review of these nationally significant, publicly owned forests may well show that a number of additional scientific reserves are required."

    "It is unacceptable that a government-owned company responsible for public land is allowed to operate so secretly. This cannot help but raise suspicions that they hold information which does not support their wish for continued logging."

    Dr Kelly noted that he and the other 12 scientists were not necessarily opposing all beech extraction on the West Coast, only large areas of logging in virgin forests which have not even been surveyed scientifically to discover what is at stake.

    He said that the statement is important because Timberlands has claimed publicly that ecologists support their logging practices. "In fact, we question the wisdom of any further degradation of native forest habitat when the government's recent State of the Environment report showed our forests are already seriously depleted and disturbed."

    For more information, contact:

    Dr Dave Kelly Plant and Microbial Sciences, University of Canterbury, Private Bag, Christchurch 1, New Zealand. Phone work (3) 3642-782 direct line home 3656-276 (after 7am, and 6-11pm) Email d.kelly@botn.canterbury.ac.nz

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    10 November, 1997: Letter to Prime Minister Bolger signed by 13 professional ecologists

    Rt Hon Jim Bolger
    Parliament Buildings
    WELLINGTON

    Dear Mr Bolger

    Re: Timberlands West Coast Logging

    This letter comes from 13 professional ecologists from throughout New Zealand. It expresses our concern about the impact on New Zealand’s biodiversity of the current (rimu) and proposed (beech) logging by Timberlands West Coast. Our primary concern is that the new proposed beech scheme is almost certainly not ecologically sustainable. A second major deficiency of the proposal is a serious lack of evidence concerning key aspects of ecological sustainability and which should be provided before sustainability can be assessed and proper decisions are made. This lack of information contrasts with the abundant evidence showing that logging of lowland forest is having negative effects on many endangered New Zealand plants and animals of outstanding biodiversity value. In the absence of a detailed scientific survey of the region to identify key areas which should be reserved, the proposed beech scheme is likely to have serious negative impacts on native biodiversity.

    Timberlands has put some work into studying the sustainability of beech logging from a timber growth point of view. However, no published research has been directed at ecological sustainability. The scheme is almost certainly ecologically unsustainable. Current non-sustainable logging of rimu in the Buller should also cease as soon as possible to protect native biodiversity.

    As scientists our concerns at the Timberlands logging are based on the following.

    1. Ecologically unsustainable

    "Sustainable" in the discussion of the proposed beech scheme is implicitly used to mean sustainable for wood harvest. Such harvesting would almost certainly not sustain ecological values of the area. For example, it is documented that removing large trees (a small fraction of all the trees in the area) will be detrimental to kaka, our native parrot, as well as bats by removing their current and future nest and roosting sites (Norton 1996, pages 70-77 in Professional Forestry, University of Canterbury, Christchurch). Similar concerns apply to epiphytes and native invertebrates (see below).

    2. Lack of scientific appraisal

    Most of the research which Timberlands uses to support their case is not published (hence has not been peer reviewed) and/or is kept secret and refused for release under the Official Information Act (hence can't be evaluated at all). This makes rational scientific assessment of the merits of the beech scheme impossible. In the absence of such information, it is untenable to argue that Timberlands’ management proposals would be ecologically benign. Moreover, most of the forests involved have not been examined for their natural biodiversity values in any detail, in contrast to the effort which has been put into High Country Tenure Reviews or Protected Natural Areas surveys. With discoveries since 1986 about threats to native biodiversity being greater than was first thought, a careful scientific review of these nationally significant, publicly owned lowland forests may well show that a number of additional scientific reserves are required to fulfil New Zealand’s current international obligations. We strongly urge that such appraisal be undertaken.

    The 1995 review of Timberlands draft beech management prescriptions by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment's review panel concluded that the draft beech prescriptions did not contain sufficient information to enable the panel to judge whether sustainable management as provided for under the Resource Management Act could be achieved. Two years later no additional information has been made public and the beech prescriptions are still not available for scientific or public scrutiny.

    3. Biodiversity under threat

    The recently released 'State of the Environment' report testifies that more native species on the mainland of New Zealand are in danger of extinction than previously thought. A crucial factor is habitat loss, especially in the lowlands. More than half of New Zealand's endemic amphibian, reptile, bird and mammals species are extinct and most of the rest are threatened or endangered. Great spotted Kiwi, kaka, native glaxiid fish, and probably short-tailed bats are among these and are present in the area concerned. Further loss or degradation of native forest habitat will contribute to further losses. The State of the Environment report shows that efforts to date have not been adequate; to avoid further extinctions we must devote more money and land to conservation than in the past.

    4. Importance of invertebrates

    Insects make up the largest part of New Zealand's native biodiversity, but only about 30% of them have been described scientifically. Given the lack of scientific study of the area in question, it is impossible to say how many threatened native invertebrates are present. It is inevitable that an unknown (but not insignificant) number of these will go extinct if these logging plans are allowed to proceed without proper scientific appraisal.

    5. No requirement to log

    Two recent court decisions show that there is no legal basis for continued rimu overcutting and no longer any obligation on the government under the West Coast Accord to proceed with a beech scheme (so no re-litigation of the West Coast accord would be triggered). Under these circumstances, the proposals must be given close scrutiny for their effects on the state of the environment.

    6. Predator control is a separate issue

    Timberlands may propose predator control (for example on stoats) in some areas of forest (perhaps including DOC land) in an attempt to balance the damage they do to native animals and plants by logging elsewhere. However predator control and habitat maintenance are separate issues which cannot be readily traded off against each other. For example, the relative importance to kaka of nest sites in old trees, of predation by stoats, and of food sources from beech seedfall as limits to population growth are unknown. Moreover, habitat protection can be permanent, and habitat loss is always permanent, whereas predator control requires annual inputs which cannot be guaranteed.

    Finally, such predator control will benefit only some native species; there would be no benefit to epiphytic plants or endemic invertebrates (among others).

    7. Conclusion

    We question the need for further degradation and loss of native forest habitat when the Ministry for the Environment's State of the Environment report concluded that 73 %

    of indigenous habitat is disturbed and may not be adequate to support our unique indigenous flora and fauna. We therefore ask that no proposals to continue or expand logging by Timberlands be approved until they have been given independent scientific scrutiny (and preferably subjected to a public consultation process, given that the forests are on public land).

    Yours,

    Dr Dave Kelly, University of Canterbury, Christchurch; Councillor, New Zealand Ecological Society

    Dr Katharine Dickinson, Botany Dept, University of Otago, Dunedin

    Dr Martin Foggo, Department of Science, Central Institute of Technology, Upper Hutt

    Associate Professor Robin Fordham, Ecology Dept, Massey University, Palmerston North

    Dr Gabor Lovei, Hort Research, Palmerston North; Councillor, New Zealand Ecological Society; Editor, New Zealand Journal of Ecology

    Professor Alan Mark, Botany Dept, University of Otago, Dunedin

    Associate Professor John Ogden, School of Environmental and Marine Science, University of Auckland

    Dr Jonathan Palmer, Plant Science, Lincoln University, Lincoln

    Dr Geoff Park, Geoff Park Ecology and History Consultancy, Wellington

    Dr Elisabeth Slooten, Environmental and Marine Sciences, University of Otago

    Dr Ian Spellerberg, Resource Management, Lincoln University, Lincoln

    Dr Alan Tennyson, Te Papa Museum of New Zealand, Wellington

    Dr Kerry-Jayne Wilson, Entomology and Animal Ecology, Lincoln University, Lincoln; Vice-President, Ornithological Society of NZ.

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    Wednesday 7th January 1998: Press Release

    NEW YEAR PROTEST AT WEST COAST LOGGING HEADQUARTERS

    Native forest campaigners protested inside and outside the headquarters of the native forest logging SOE, Timberlands West Coast Limited, in Greymouth today as part of a week of environmental protest activities on the West Coast. The environmentalists have converged on the area from many parts of New Zealand to support the campaign started by NFA last year. They say the actions mark the beginning of a year of concerted protest against plans for expanded native forest logging by the government-controlled Timberlands.

    In today’s action a group of about twenty-five people staged a sit-down protest inside Timberlands’ building until forced to leave by police. Other actions in the last week have occurred in Charleston forest where Timberlands’ loggers continue to log important kiwi habitat.

    Spokesperson Jenny Coleman said the new year actions were intended to show the Coalition Government that protest and controversy over state-sponsored native forest logging are not going to go away.

    "Mrs Shipley is secretly backing plans to triple the rate of native forest logging on the West Coast, at a time when most New Zealanders believe it should be stopping for good," she said. "The Coalition is buying a huge fight with environmentalists right up to the next election if she pushes ahead with these extreme plans."

    Ms Coleman said a year of protest and campaigning is being planned to counter the anti-environmental plans being pushed by Timberlands’ management and promoted in government by Mrs Shipley. "Timberlands has submitted proposals to open up nearly 100,000 hectares of outstanding natural beech forests to a new logging scheme. At the same time Treasury is secretly working on plans to privatise all the public native forests under Timberlands’ control."

    "We believe the idea of selling off important parts of our natural heritage is totally objectionable to most New Zealanders. It will become a symbol of crazy, anti-social ideologically-driven asset sales. Once the public learns what they are planning we hope it will become politically impossible of proceed with the native forest privatisation plans."

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    March 1998: Briefing Paper for the Buller District Council

    Background information presented to the Buller District Council at a meeting in

     

    TIMBERLANDS PINE MILLED OFF THE WEST COAST

    Reference: Supplementary Questions for Timberlands West Coast Limited’s 1996/97 Financial Review.

    Timberlands exotic estate = 26,000 hectares

    1997 Timberlands annual review figures:-

    Mills Log Grade Location Volume
    5 High West Coast 28,500
    3 High Canty/Nelson 11,145
    6 Medium West Coast 26,589
    5 Medium Canty/Nelson 44,478
    3 Low West Coast 6,333
    2 Low Canty/Nelson 11,807
    Total     128,852

    Total harvest = 128,852 cubic meters.

    Milled in Canterbury/Nelson

    Total = 67,430 cubic meters = 52% of total.

    High = 8.65%

    Medium = 34.5%

    Low = 9.1%

    43% of total harvest that is taken to off the Coast is high and medium grade timber.

    9.1% " " " low grade timber.

    More than 82% of the timber that is milled off the West Coast is high and medium grade timber.

    Milled on West Coast

    Total = 6,142 cubic meters = 48% of total

    High = 22.1%

    Medium = 20.6%

    Low = 4.9%

    This pine was planted for the benefit of the West Coast timber industry, not for the Canterbury and Nelson regional economies. These two regions have far more resources than the West Coast. If this timber was milled on the West Coast there would be no need to log native forest. The government should be placing emphasis on added value processing on the West Coast including manufacturing, rather than expanding indigenous logging.

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    5 May 1998: News Release

    PARLIAMENT "WILDLIFE CEMETERY" PROTEST

    Native Forest Action says the government is taking plans for a three year continuation of native logging in the Buller region to the coalition caucuses today, ignoring a year of public protests and helping to push the area’s kiwi population towards extinction. The decision will be announced this week.

    NFA protested in Parliament Grounds this morning before the caucus meetings, to express anger and dismay at the decision. Hundreds of crosses and model birds were put across the parliament lawns as a "wildlife cemetery", symbolising the wildlife at threat from the logging.

    Spokesperson Dean Baigent-Mercer said that the government had disregarded public pleas to end the logging and would be announcing three more years of cutting to 31 December 2000 – plus plans for expanded logging into beech forests.

    He said the decision had been pushed through by Mrs Shipley and showed the government cared more about native logging revenue than the survival of endangered wildlife. "The forest homes of New Zealand’s largest kiwis, the great spotted, are being wrecked by this logging. Any responsible government would stop the logging now, not when more priceless areas have already been logged."

    NFA said that the decision was the result of the government-run logging company, Timberlands West Coast, persuading the government that it needed the cash from the logging to remain financially viable. The company pays only about $10-20 for each centuries-old rimu tree it logs, a fraction of the market price, and wants to retain this subsidy for as long as possible. "They have put profits for the disreputable state-owned enterprise Timberlands ahead of protecting our natural heritage. This is an appalling, short-sighted reason to wreck more of our heritage," he said.

    "The logging extension, which allows logging for a year after all current sawmilling contracts expire, was not based on the needs of the local sawmilling industry; but merely on propping up poor management of the SOE."

    "The decision is the endpoint of a whole year’s debate between key government Ministers and unfortunately the anti-conservation Ministers have prevailed." NFA says that Forestry Minister Lockwood Smith intends to dress up the decision cynically as a victory for conservation. "The Minister’s announcement will say they are moving to "sustainable logging", a latest in a long history of labels employed to try to get the public to accept logging of our remaining rainforests."

    He said that most New Zealanders believe these forests should be preserved and promised to fight the logging right up the next election.

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    5 May 1998: News Release

    GOVERNMENT LETTING DOWN CONSERVATION AND THE WEST COAST

    Native Forest Action says that Lockwood Smith’s announcement on West Coast native forests is bad news for conservation and the West Coast. Spokesperson Dean Baigent-Mercer said that the government wanted it to appear that conservation groups and West Coasters are at loggerheads to distract attention from the real issue, which is subsidising its SOE Timberlands with cheap rimu supplies.

    "The government has put its SOE before West Coasters and conservation. The decision is designed to boost Timberlands’ profits from wrecking precious habitat of endangered native wildlife while doing nothing to help local communities. If Timberlands was directed to use all of its pine forests to support West Coast mills there would be more forestry jobs and no need to wreck more native forest."

    "This is an anti-conservation decision and contradicts all the government’s work to save our national bird, the kiwi. It is disgraceful that Dr Smith is allowing logging to continue in the heart of kiwi habitat. Every day the logging continues more of our rarest forests are destroyed, with another 500 year old tree falling every 15 minutes."

    "However we are concerned about jobs and the communities too. That is why the state planted pines on the Coast: to boost forestry jobs while replacing native logging. Under the West Coast Accord the native logging should already have ended and a pine industry be thriving. Instead Timberlands is selling many of those pines off the West Coast. We share the anger of the local councils at how they have been treated by Timberlands."

    "This decision is not the end of the fight. We will keep on campaigning, and are determined that the kiwis of the West Coast will not have to get right to the edge of extinction before action is taken."

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    Monday 27 July 1998: Press Release

    TIMBERLANDS IN FINANCIAL CRISIS - SQUANDERING NATIVE FOREST

    Timberlands West Coast's annual report, due to be tabled in Parliament this week, will show a state-owned enterprise in financial crisis, according to the conservation group Native Forest Action.

    NFA says that the still secret annual report contains details of dismal financial results. "Without its highly subsidised native forest logging the SOE would have made serious losses in the past year and even with native logging it will be announcing an unforgiveably low profit," spokesperson Dean Baigent-Mercer said. "This low profit, which is the return to the public for wrecking priceless native forests, is seen in the SOE dividend for the past year that is only a third of the level forecast just 12 months ago (the attached PQ and CCMAU report confirm this)."

    "The National Government is willing to take a hard-line financial approach to most issues. Why, of all things, is Mrs Shipley making an exception for environmental wreckers?'

    "It's time for the government to get out of the business of native forest logging."

    "Timberlands pays less than 5% of the market value of the native trees it logs ($5/m3), yet is about to announce a profit representing a return on capital of only about one percent. Most forestry companies aim for 9-10%, and if Timberlands was not making millions of clear profit each year from destroying native forest they would definitely be announcing a large loss."

    "Timberlands' first ever dividend, a pathetic $600,000, is less than a tenth of 1% of the total SOE income to the government. It is an insignificant return and raises questions about why the government allows it to keep going."

    "The government should be concerned that the SOE has relied on its subsidised native forest logging to cover for poor management of the West Coast state pine forests. The SOE has failed to control its costs and squandered literally millions of dollars trying to build its case for continuing native logging."

    "The current Timberlands management is obsessed with maintaining native forest logging at the expense of the large public pine plantations entrusted to it."

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    04/08/98 (Conservation Week) -Press Release

    Native Forest Action hangs Protest Banner from top of Pine on One Tree Hill

    A banner was hung from the historic Pine on Auckland's landmark One Tree Hill today in protest against the logging of native forests by government logger Timberlands on the West Coast.

    The point made by the conservation group Native Forest Action (NFA) is that while the council has spent a huge amount of time and money on protecting the 80 year old exotic tree there are thousands of 500+ year old native rimu trees being felled each year in the South Island.

    "This is indicative of the tokenism and hypocrisy that characterises the current government's attitude towards conservation in New Zealand" said NFA spokesman Steve Abel.

    The protest was peaceful and no damage was done to the pine tree.

    ends

    Click here to see pictures

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    Press Release - Wellington 07/08/98 Giant Condom erected at Te Papa

    Condom erection at Te Papa has serious conservation message

    In a conservation week protest which highlighted government-backed native forest logging by the SOE Timberlands on the West Coast, members of Native Forest Action (NFA) erected a five meter high condom in the native plant gardens of Te Papa today.

    The condom bore the message "Our virgin forests need protection - Timberlands must withdraw!"

    NFA spokesperson Dean Baigent-Mercer said, "The action is designed to remind the government how controversial and offensive it is for many New Zealanders for the government to be logging virgin native forests.

    The action at Te Papa serves to highlight the hypocrisy of the government during conservation week. "While the government proudly promotes itself as having an impressive conservation record, it is - at the same time- backing its own native logging company to wreck the best native lowland forest left in the country".

    "Timberlands' and the government's crass insistence that they must keep logging and gear up for a whole new mammoth beech logging scheme is obscene - the current rate of logging would be tripled by the beech scheme. The government must force Timberlands to withdraw from all West Coast native forests so they can become protected as conservation land and National Parks."

    Local West Coast authorities deserve appropriate compensation in the form of access to state pines and money targeted to promote tourism on the West Coast.

     

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    Eco Streakers -

    Press Release - CHRISTCHURCH 9TH AUGUST

    Activists Strip In Protest Against Native Logging

    Eco-streakers from Native Forest Action stripped naked today at a peaceful demonstration outside a lumber yard in Christchurch. They were protesting against the logging of native forests by SOE Timberlands West Coast Ltd. The activists held a banner with the slogan "Stop Stripping Our Heritage," outside Lumber Specialities Ltd., a company supplying Timberlands beech to Canterbury consumers. The protesters revealed all to expose the absurdity of the Government’s support for the logging of publicly owned native forests. The action marks the culmination of NFA’s contribution to Conservation Week which involved protests in Auckland, Wellington, and now Christchurch with the launching of the Christchurch branch.

    "This country has been denuded of its lowland forests. It is time for the remaining areas to be protected," NFA spokesperson Dr Sean Weaver said.

    "Timberlands are stripping our heritage and stripping the West Coast economy of its riches," he said. "We’d rather go naked than buy beech timber."

    Environmental groups, including Native Forest Action, Forest and Bird, and ECO, are critical of the Government’s plans to allow Timberlands to run a massive beech scheme which will involve the logging of 100,000ha of lowland native forest on publicly owned land on the West Coast. According to Native Forest Action these forests should become national parks. If it goes ahead, however, the beech scheme will increase the rate of native logging to levels not seen since the early 1980s.

    "These are not just any forests. They are among the best native forests in the country, and the Government should be protecting them, not logging them," he said.

    Among the disrobed protesters was co-leader of the Greens, MP Rod Donald who was prepared to get down to bare basics in support the Native Forest Action campaign.

    "Native Forest Action are running a great campaign and all New Zealanders should be supporting them," Mr Donald said.

    Native Forest Action are complaining that not only are native forests are under threat by Timberlands, but also the West Coast economy.

    "Timberlands are more interested in their own profits than providing a lasting contribution to the West Coast community. They are running a heavily subsidised native logging operation, but at the same time are sending up to half of their pines off the Coast to be milled in Canterbury and Nelson. These pines were planted for the benefit of the West Coast timber industry. If they were milled on the Coast, there would be no need to log native forests to satisfy the demand for timber in West Coast mills. The West Coast people and their landscapes have been ripped off for generations and it is time for this to stop," Dr Weaver said.

    According to Native Forest Action the timber industry on the West Coast is not threatened by conservation but by "a selfish Government whose economic policies are starving the West Coast of the true value of its own resources." The group believes that it is these same policies that resulted in the closure of mills, factories, post offices, and hospital wards on the West Coast since the restructuring of the economy began over ten years ago.

    "Restructuring, not conservation, has caused the job losses."

    "It is time the rest of New Zealand gave the West Coast a better deal," he said.

    Native Forest Action are calling on the Government to 1. Wind up Timberlands immediately; 2. Transfer the control of state owned exotic forests on the West Coast to a trust controlled by local authorities; and, 3. Place all publicly owned native forests into reserves.

    …ends.

    Eco streakers in christchurch winter !

     

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    13 August, 1998 Press Release

    NUDE DANCING OF THE FOREST FAIRIES

    Native Forest Action (not a signatory to the West Coast Accord) is perplexed as to who Greymouth District Mayor Ron Hibbs was referring to when he expressed outrage at the nude protest in Christchurch in the Greymouth Evening Star on Monday. Spokesperson for Native Forest Action Sean Weaver said that the Mayor’s anger has been directed at a strawman - a position that no one holds. Dr Weaver pointed out that the protest was directed at Timberlands for monopolising the West Coast pine resource whilst squandering the native forests for "a fast buck," as stated in the press release issued by the conservation group on the day of the ‘undies’ protest.

    "The West Coast has been exploited by other regions for decades which is why it has so little investment capital available for local infrastructures and social services." Dr Weaver said.

    This is why Native Forest Action is campaigning against Timberlands and seeking to contribute to a struggle for a better deal for the West Coast region in terms of central government policy on regional development.

    "Never before has an element within the conservation movement taken the social justice dimension so seriously on the Coast" Dr Weaver said. "We are not interested in cutting deals between powerful interests as was the case with the West Coast Accord. We are struggling along side workers, and people in the social justice community for a reshaping of our economy into a form that does not treat the West Coast like a resource colony. West Coast development has been dominated by outside interests for 100 years which is why the capital value of the region’s resources has consistently ended up in someone else’s pocket."

    Native Forest Action believes that if the value of West Coast resources was not transferred to other parts of the world it would be one of the richest regions in the country. Instead it remains New Zealand’s ‘problem region’ being a leader in unemployment with a poor manufacturing base, low levels of investment capital, closed hospitals, post offices and banks.

    "The way things are going the pine will be sold off like all the other state pine forests around the country. When this happens even more logs will be exported for processing elsewhere. Timberlands has already started privatising its operation with the sale of the Sphagnum moss processing. When those pine forests go, so will your long term forestry jobs" he said.

    According to Native Forest Action Timberlands are more interested in their own profits than providing a lasting contribution to the West Coast community.

    "Timberlands are running a heavily subsidised native logging operation, but at the same time are sending up to half of their pines off the Coast to be milled in Canterbury and Nelson. These pines were planted for the benefit of the West Coast timber industry. If they were milled on the Coast, there would be no need to log native forests to satisfy the demand for timber in West Coast mills.

    "A cubic meter of pine and a cubic meter of rimu provide the same number of jobs in the mill. But the pines are being sent away simply to justify the use of West Coast labour to turn that rimu into big Timberlands profits which the West Coast will never see. The West Coast people and their landscapes have been ripped off for generations and it is time for this to stop," Dr Weaver said.

    According to Native Forest Action the timber industry on the West Coast is not threatened by conservation but by "a selfish Government whose economic policies are starving the West Coast of the true value of its own resources." The group believes that it is these same policies that resulted in the closure of mills, factories, post offices, and hospital wards on the West Coast since the restructuring of the economy began over ten years ago.

    Native Forest Action also believes that the West Coast timber industry needs more than the West Coast Accord to solve its problems.

    "The Accord has proven ineffective in delivering real social benefits to the West Coast people because it was demonstrably incapable of changing the tide of monetarist restructuring that has smashed apart the West Coast economy over the last decade. Hanging on to the Accord is like holding onto a lose rope when your drowning. It won’t save you," he said.

    "Restructuring, not conservation, has caused the job losses."

    "It is time the rest of New Zealand gave the West Coast a better deal. This is what Native Forest Action are asking for."

    BACK TO INDEX

     


    14/08/98 - Press Release :

    BILATERAL AGREEMENT AT THE PASS

    An historic meeting will take place at the Lewis Pass today with the merging of environmental and social justice interests over the logging of indigenous forests by Timberlands. Native Forest Action will be greeted at the Lewis Pass by two social justice community groups from Greymouth. Representatives from the Seaview Hospital Action Group and the West Coast Unemployed and Worker’s Rights Centre will meet with representatives from Native Forest Action to welcome them to the West Coast and begin "working together for a sustainable future." These groups are protesting side by side against the transporting of Timberlands pine to Canterbury for milling. They will be holding a banner which reads "West Coast Pine For West Coast Mills."

    Collaboration between these groups arises out of the mutual recognition that social and environmental problems on the West Coast have both been caused by unsustainable and inequitable development policies and programmes. At the meeting, Native Forest Action will be presenting the West Coast groups with a symbolic gift of a toy helicopter made in Canterbury from pine timber.

    "This helicopter will not be air lifting rimu from the hill sides of potential national parks. It is made in Canterbury but should have been made on the West Coast in a value added pine manufacturing industry," said NFA spokesperson Sean Weaver.

    Dr Sean Weaver said that the gift exchange was an exciting development in environmentalism because it represents mutual understanding that has resulted from respectful dialogue between conservationists and social justice groups who are learning from each other.

    "The West Coast has been exploited by other regions for decades which is why it has so little investment capital available for local infrastructures, employment, and social services." Dr Weaver said.

    This is why Native Forest Action is campaigning against Timberlands and seeking to contribute to a struggle for a better deal for the West Coast region in terms of central government policy on regional development.

    Native Forest Action believes that if the value of West Coast resources was not transferred to other parts of the world it would be one of the richest regions in the country. Instead it remains New Zealand’s ‘problem region’ being a leader in unemployment with a poor manufacturing base, low levels of investment capital, closed hospitals, post offices and banks and is still logging internationally significant native forests on public land."

    Social justice and environmental groups are particularly critical of the way that SOE Timberlands is sending up to half of its state pine harvest to be milled off the Coast.

    "This pine was planted for the benefit of West Coast mills but Timberlands sends it to Nelson and Canterbury so that it can justify cutting rimu. The West Coast Accord provided for the milling of native timbers ONLY UNTIL SUFFICIENT EXOTICS BECAME AVAILABLE.

    "The pines are available today but Timberlands sends them away. West Coast mills are being starved of the very resource that promises them a sustainable future. If this pine was milled on the Coast, there would be no need to log native forests to satisfy the demand for timber in West Coast mills," Dr Weaver said.

    According to Native Forest Action Timberlands are more interested in their own profits than providing a lasting contribution to the West Coast community.

    "It is time for the rest of New Zealand to wake up to what Timberlands is doing. It is also time that the West Coast people got a better deal. This is what Native Forest Action are asking for and why these local groups are welcoming us."

    Native Forest Action are calling on the Government to 1. Wind up Timberlands immediately; 2. Transfer the control of state owned exotic forests on the West Coast to a trust controlled by local authorities; 3. Place all publicly owned native forests into reserves; 4. Reinvest Timberlands capital in West Coast regional development.

    …ends

    BACK TO INDEX


     

    16/08/98: Press Release

    BILATERAL AGREEMENT AT THE PASS

    * * * UPDATE * * *

    Further details relating to a meeting between environment and social justice groups at the Lewis Pass on Saturday 15th August.

    A meeting between environment and social justice groups was organised by Native Forest Action took place at the Lewis Pass on Saturday 15th August 1998. Groups represented at the meeting included Native Forest Action, the West Coast Unemployed and Workers Rights Centre, the Seaview Hospital Action Group, the North Canterbury Branch of the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society, Friends of Lewis Pass, and the Buller Conservation Group. At the meeting each of the groups pledged to work together under the understanding that conservation and development can co-exist, but only if development puts people and nature before profits.

    The groups are critical of the way that the West Coast had been treated by restructuring which had pushed social and environmental goals further to the margins in the unmitigated quest for corporate profits. In pledging support for each other these groups hoped to help unite social justice and environmental groups throughout the country in the common quest for a sustainable future.

    Representatives from Native Forest Action presented the West Coast groups with a wooden model helicopter, made in Christchurch from pine timber, in a symbolic gesture of good will. The gift symbolised the returning to the West Coast the treasure of employment that comes from a value added timber industry.

    "Canterbury has benefited for decades from the resources of the West Coast. We believe that it is time to give something back. This gift symbolises our commitment to supporting a better deal for West Coast regional development," NFA spokesperson, Dr Sean Weaver said.

    …ends

     

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    3/9/98 Press Release

    West Coast Accord - Conservationists Call for Clarity

    Native Forest Action is calling for clarity on the West Coast Accord in light of recent misunderstandings. The conservation group is wanting local people to have access to the correct information so that debate is based on the facts. Spokesperson for Native Forest Action Dr Sean Weaver said that free and open debate is important for communities which are making decisions about their future.

    "The High Court and the Court of Appeal have stated that while the West Coast Accord is a contract, there are a number of things it does not guarantee. The Accord does not guarantee the logging of rimu in the Buller until 2006 or the year 2000, or the implementation of a beech scheme. These judgements are publicly available and people can see for themselves," he said.

    Native Forest Action believes that the West Coast deserves something better than the West Coast Accord is capable of delivering. According to the conservationists the West Coast needs long term, sustainable regional development across all sectors including forestry. The group claims that this is only possible when the West Coast gets a better deal in terms of central government regional development policy and funding.

    "The fact that the nation’s natural treasures are located on the West Coast puts West Coasters in a good position to bargain for development assistance. This is particularly relevant at a time when the West Coast region is losing business development grants, education funding, and health services," Dr Weaver said.

    "Solving conservation problems on the West Coast can only happen if we can also begin to solve social and economic problems including unemployment, and regional development decline. This necessitates thinking laterally and working together to make use of our respective skills."

    Native Forest Action is already putting considerable effort into raising the profile of the social needs of West Coast communities with its lobbying effort and public awareness campaign.

    "It is not very often that you get people from other regions going into bat for West Coast development needs, but this is what we are doing," he said. …ends.

     

    BACK TO INDEX


    06/09/98: NFA Statement

    WHITE HERONS BLOCK ROAD INTO OKARITO RIMU FOREST

    Native Forest Action launched its campaign to save the famous Okarito rimu forest at dawn this morning with a blockade on a logging road. Three striking 2-metre-high white herons blocked the access road from a nest on top of a tall tripod structure, in an effort to obstruct a logging road in the forest. Okarito, located just north of Franz Josef Glacier in South Westland, is home for New Zealand’s only white heron colony.

    NFA and other conservation groups are furious that the SOE Timberlands West Coast is currently chopping new roads into the unlogged heart of the forest, in a move they believe aims to head off initiatives to give the area national park status. Timberlands' operational plans allow them to log within 200m meters of the lagoon.

    "We are pushing for changes in central government regional development policy so that Coasters are not forced to degrade our nation’s natural heritage in order to make a living," spokesperson Dr Sean Weaver said.

    "Of all the West Coast forests, Okarito is the last place there should be logging and roading. The tall forests surrounding Okarito Lagoon are to rimu what Waipoua Forest is to kauri. Okarito Forest is internationally important, lying on the boundary of the South Westland World Heritage Area in which it naturally belongs."

    NFA activists have been entering the Okarito Forest over recent days in preparation for today’s protest, the first of its kind in New Zealand. "The example of tripod protests comes from rainforest logging protests overseas. The idea is that the roadway cannot be cleared without injuring the forest campaigners (in this case dressed as white herons) high above the ground."

    "The campaign begins here in the forest, but it will continue in the cities where we intend to shame the Government into stopping the logging and redirect its energies into providing development assistance for the West Coast. If Okarito was privately owned, the Government would have purchased it for a national park long ago. It is a disgrace that a government logging company is being subsidised to degrade this national treasure."

    The blockade marks a new development in the Native Forest Action campaign which is now targeting native forests throughout the Timberlands estate, rather than just in the Buller. "Lowland native forests are the powerhouse of our natural heritage, but they are mostly gone from the rest of the country. Those that survive need to be protected, not logged by our own Government."

    "Saving Okarito is good for conservation and the local people. The forest has some of the highest numbers of native birds of any forest in the country, while tourism is the largest economic production sector on the West Coast and presents a far better economic use of these forests than native logging. The current success of tourism on the West Coast is due to the conservation efforts of the past. It is time to make an investment in our future and stop logging native forests," Dr Weaver said.

    "Native Forest Action is working for a sustainable future where conservation and development can coexist. A positive step in this direction would be to transfer the ownership of the state owned pine forests to a trust controlled by local interests and redirect the Government’s share in Timberlands to finance regional development grants. If this were to happen there would be no need to log native forests", Dr Weaver said.

    …ends

    BACK TO INDEX


    6 September 1998 PRESS RELEASE FROM THE GREEN PARTY

    ENQUIRY NEEDED OVER OKARITO

    Green Co-Leader and MP Jeanette Fitzsimons today called for an official enquiry into  logging at Okarito, and other native Forest operations of Timberlands West Coast.

    Commenting on a protest by the group Native Forest Action, which blockaded a logging road into Okarito Forest this weekend, Ms Fitzsimon said the rimu-milling industry, including Timberlands, was giving out contradictory information.

    "The company recently bulldozed a new road into this precious South Westland forest, which the New Zealand Wildlife Service identified in 1981 as having outstanding wildlife values.

    "This roading exercise was contrary to Timberlands' statement to me last year that virtually all the roading needed was already there."

    Another contradiction from the industry was the marketing of rimu as "recycled" when it often came from newly milled trees, Ms Fitzsimons said.  Proof of this was published in the August edition of Consumer magazine, which featured a photograph of the Okarito logging road.

    "While I have no connection with the protest this weekend, and was unaware that it was to occur, I understand the frustration environmentalists feel at government inaction over the continued state-sponsored milling of native forest," she said.

    "An enquiry should establish whether we are getting value for money, and set out exactly what we are losing in respect to our natural heritage.

    "It should also decide whether Timberlands is doing what it says it is. The company's latest glossy annual report trumpets the use of `low-impact helicopter logging' and `tree selection systems that mimic the natural forest renewal processes'

    "The reality is very different, as the roading shows."

    Jeanette Fitzsimons MP
    04.4706661
    025 586 068
    07.8686641 (h)

     


    News release Thursday 10 September 1998

     

    BEECH FOREST LOGGING PLANS WILL HELP DEMISE OF MRS SHIPLEY’S GOVERNMENT

    Conservationists have vowed to fight the government over West Coast beech forest logging right up to the general election, following the leaking yesterday of previously-secret Timberlands plans for a huge new West Coast beech logging scheme.

    Native Forest Action says that it has convened a national meeting later this month to make plans for the campaign.

    Spokesperson Dean Baigent-Mercer said that for 25 years governments had shied away from allowing loggers into the beech forests and that it was shameful for the National Government in the 1990s to be backing a beech logging scheme.

    "This is an important time to place the political responsibility for these logging plans where it belongs," spokesperson Dean Baigent-Mercer said.

    "This is Jenny Shipley’s logging scheme. She has been the main person in Cabinet backing all Timberlands logging plans, first as SOE Minister and now Prime Minister. Her indifference to conservation is going to contribute to the demise of her government."

    "The former Prime Minister, Jim Bolger, was working on proposals with conservationist Stephen King to end Timberlands and put all its important native forests into reserves and national parks. Unfortunately Mrs Shipley stopped those plans after the leadership coup late last year."

    "We intend to make this an election issue, informing the public that it is Mrs Shipley who is behind Timberlands new plans to log extensive areas of West Coast beech forest."

    "Last month Mrs Shipley got Cabinet approval for a phoney public consultation on the beech logging plans, months after her government had approved a start to the logging. Since the first beech logging plans in the 1970s there has been a promise of a major public review before any logging would be approved. We understand that Mrs Shipley personally intervened to stop effective public input."

    "Confidential Crown Law Office advice to the government last year concluded that the government has no obligation to continue logging native forests under the West Coast Accord. There is no excuse for Mrs Shipley’s stance."

    "The leaking of the management plans is the first action in the conservation campaign to have these beech forests protected forever."

     


    Wednesday, 9 September 1998, 5:43 pm
    Press Release: New Zealand Labour Party

    Labour: Beech plans ridiculous

    Labour Leader Helen Clark said today that plans for beech logging by Timberlands revealed this afternoon were the wrong solution to securing sustainable, long-term economic development for the West Coast of the South Island.

    Helen Clark was speaking at a press conference hosted by Forest and Bird to publicise Timberlands' plans.

    "Timberlands' plans, which appear to have the support of Mrs Shipley and her National colleagues, go far beyond the spirit of the West Coast Forests Accord, signed in 1986.

    "In proposing that its felling of beech is greatly expanded, Timberlands is aiming at a market which doesn't presently exist and would have to be created. Where's the sense in that? Here is a classic case of the cart being put before the horse, with disastrous consequences for the region's ecology and economy.

    "Timberlands' proposed scheme obscures and delays discussion about sustainable economic development on the West Coast.

    "Rather than having another Think Big scheme of the sort immortalised by Bill Birch in an earlier National government, a multi-pronged approach to economic developments on the Coast, emphasising sustainability, is needed.

    "This could involve, for example, grants in lieu of rates on Crown-owned lands; transferring coal levies from the Crown to fund sustainable development on the Coast; and boosting eco- and adventure-tourism.

    "Responsibility for the current mess rests squarely on the shoulders of Mrs Shipley - a recent Minister of SOEs - and her National colleagues, whose blinkered and uncritical support for Timberlands' activities has underpinned the company's disastrous plans for the West Coast's forests. At least Mrs Shipley's predecessor, Mr Bolger, had the intelligence and vision to consider a different, less harmful approach and won the respect of many for doing that," Helen Clark said.

    Contact: Mark Watts (press secretary), 025 409 492

     


    Wednesday, 9 September 1998, 6:30 pm
    Press Release: New Zealand Government

    Sustainable Beech Management Plans

    There will be no beech scheme unless it is sustainable, it is economically feasible and it protects the areas of important conservation value in our West Coast forests, State Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall said today.

    "Sustainable beech management plans released today have been scheduled for wide release in the next few weeks to give the public full opportunity to comment," Mr Ryall said.

    "Just yesterday in Parliament I spoke about the full public comment phase that will take place in the next few months on the sustainable beech management plans.

    "Prior to release today, the Government had already instructed the Ministry of Forestry to distribute the sustainable beech management plans in major public libraries and in MAF offices. Timberlands West Coast were planning to put the information on their home page for release on the Internet.

    "The papers released today were drafts prepared in February prior to being certified by the Indigenous Forest Unit as meeting the criteria for sustainable management under Part IIIA of the Forest Amendment Act 1993. These rules apply to private companies as well.

    "What is proposed is not clear-felling. It is sustainable management of the beech forests, and it is exactly what was agreed to when the Labour government signed the West Coast Accord in 1986."

    ENDS


    Press Release Wednesday 9 September 1998

    LEAKED LOGGING PLANS CONFIRM CONSERVATIONISTS’ WORST FEARS

    Hundreds of pages of leaked management plans prepared by Timberlands for the West Coast beech forests were released at a press conference in the Beehive today by conservation groups. The plans, which Timberlands has taken strenuous efforts to keep secret, are simultaneously being placed on the Internet to be widely accessible to the public.

    Native Forest Action, which was part of the press conference, says the leaked plans show the government intends to try to force through one of conservationists’ worst fears of the last 25 years, an industrial-scale plan to exploit the natural beech forests of the West Coast. "The gigantic beech logging scheme detailed in the plans would be a catastrophe for the beech forests and a national shame in a country that cares about conservation," spokesperson Dean Baigent-Mercer said.

    "It is hard to believe that a New Zealand government is backing a new native forest logging scheme in 1998. Unless the scheme is stopped, more than 200,000 native beech and rimu trees will be logged every year - more than all other native logging in New Zealand put together."

    "Until now Timberlands has been claiming it is investigating low-impact, environmentally-sensitive logging. But the leaked management plans show that there is just a repackaging of destructive beech logging plans rejected by the public and governments in the past."

    "Figures in the leaked plans disprove Timberlands’ claims of sustainable logging. The so-called sustainable beech scheme would involve logging many more trees per hectare than the controversial ‘unsustainable’ Timberlands logging in the Buller region. Timberlands says the beech scheme would average only one tree per hectare per year. The trick is that they do not mention that when the ‘average’ rate is concentrated in just a few areas each year the results are devastating."

    "Long-standing government promises to consult over the beech scheme plans are also shown to be a sham. We find that the government approved the first phase of the logging scheme over 6 months ago (1st April 1998 - 31 March 1999 Operations Plan enclosed), without releasing any information or consulting the public. Governments that consult the public after they have made the decisions do not deserve public respect."

    "Today’s release marks the beginning of a nation-wide campaign to sink the beech logging plans once and for all. The public is strongly behind us as we work to have these forests protected forever."

    "Native Forest Action is working for an outcome where all logging of public native forests ends and the West Coasters are offered a regional development package they are happy with. There are much more positive options than damaging more native forests. It is only Timberlands that is determined to keep logging."

    ends..

    Click here to see the document

     


    Thursday, 10 September 1998, 8:57 am
    Press Release: New Zealand Labour Party

    Pettis: Beech scheme unjustified

    The claim by State Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall that logging of red and silver beech forests will only proceed if
    there is sound economic justification for it has no credibility, Labour conservation spokesperson Jill Pettis said today.

    Jill Pettis said the Timberlands West Coast Ltd 1998 Annual Report states "the market size and value for this particular product cannot be assessed with any measure of certainty". The report also says "beech is more difficult to mill, the recovery rate of cleared timber is less and the drying process is more protracted".

    Further information reveals that SOE Timberlands West Coast Ltd gets less than $100 per hectare from felling beech. Given this information, the Minister is barking up the wrong tree if he argues that the beech scheme is economically justifiable.

    The National Government's scheme to log 98,000 hectares of West Coast native beech trees was exposed by environment groups in Wellington today. I hope that the leaked report will force the National Government to consult more honestly and openly with the public, said Jill Pettis.

    Until today, the Government has ignored public concern and commercial logging of beech has commenced without any opportunity for public comment.

    A 1997 Department of Conservation report stated that the proposed beech scheme will destroy or seriously degrade the conservation values of these unique forests. The ecological and conservation values of beech forests far outweigh any economic values. The National Government must get its priorities right and stop this mindless destruction now, Jill Pettis said.

    ends


    Thursday, 10 September 1998, 3:56 pm
    Press Release: New Zealand Government

    Phil And Helen's Beech Scheme Was Twice The Size

    The West Coast Accord signed in 1986 by the Labour government's environment minister Phil Goff provided for a beech scheme twice the size of plans to be released for public comment by Timberlands West Coast, State Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall said today.

    "When the Accord was signed, the parties envisaged a beech scheme of 137,000 cubic metres each year," Mr Ryall said.

    "Plans soon to be put forward by Timberlands propose sustainable management of around 65,000 cubic metres of beech a year for the Maruia, Grey and Inangahua working circles half the size of plans reviewed by Labour," Mr Ryall said.

    "The beech scheme envisaged in 1986 was a huge industrial chipping plant. By contrast, the sustainable beech management scheme proposed by Timberlands is a cautious, low intensity approach scientifically designed to mimic nature as close as possible.

    "The proposed scheme is not clear-felling, it is sustainable, single tree harvesting that could not be more different to the beech plans considered by Labour when Mr Goff signed the Accord.

    "The size of the 1986 beech scheme didn't seem to worry Helen Clark when she became Minister of Conservation in 1987. Nor for that matter was she concerned by the Buller Overcut which cut down rimu trees on an unsustainable basis.

    "This Government wants to put West Coast forestry onto a sustainable management basis. We are working to end the Buller Overcut and ensure that there will be no unsustainable logging of native trees in the new millennium.

    "The public will be given full opportunity to comment on the proposed sustainable beech management plans. There will be no beech scheme unless we can be assured that it can be done on a sustainable basis, that it stacks up economically and that it protects the areas of important conservation value in our West Coast forests."

    ENDS

     


    Thursday, 10 September 1998, 4:03 pm
    Press Release: From The Green Party

    Timberlands Can't Be Trusted With Native Forest

    "The beech scheme plans revealed yesterday confirm that the National Government and Timberlands West Coast can't be trusted to manage the publicly owned native forest of New Zealand," says Greens Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons.

    "The plans confirm that the logging of the Maruia Valley that started in April was actually the beginning of the Beech Scheme. "When State Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall told me in Parliament that the public would be consulted on the Beech Scheme, he neglected to mention that it was already underway.

    "This deception proves that any public consultation process will be a sham - Timberlands and the National Government have not only decided that the scheme will go ahead, it's already started! "By starting with the most ecologically valuable forest in the Maruia Valley, Timberlands is undermining the conservation of the forests before the arguments for their protection become overwhelming. It's the same tactics they have used in putting logging roads they don't need into the virgin heart of the North Okarito rimu forest.

    "These old loggers tactics would be bad enough from a private company but they are despicable from one that's publicly owned, and from a Government that turns a blind eye.

    "This is not sustainable management - these plans are very different to the operations Timberlands showed me when I visited their logging trials at the start of last year.

    "They have tried to convince everyone that they have found a new future of sustainable forest management, but ideas like 'improvement felling' - that you can make the forest better than nature - show their thinking is still in the 1960s.

    Jeanette Fitzsimons said that the leaked plans justified the Greens' stand as the first political party to oppose the beech scheme
    outright.

    "These forests are unique in the world, with incredibly high conservation values, and no proven economic value as a source of
    timber - why on earth are we logging them? "In 1978 I signed the Maruia Declaration to protect all publicly owned native forest. After twenty years it's time to see that dream come true," Jeanette Fitzsimons said, "let's give these forests the protection they deserve."

    ends


     

    Thursday, 10 September 1998, 6:40 pm
    Press Release: New Zealand Labour Party

    Ryall distorts facts on forests says Clark

    The Government has resorted to misinformation and distortion as it tries to justify state-owned Timberlands' disastrous plans to greatly expand the logging of West Coast beech forest, Labour Leader Helen Clark said today.

    "The Minister for State-Owned Enterprises, Tony Ryall, is woefully wrong in asserting today that the West Coast accord signed by a former Labour government, environmental groups and West Coast interests, was twice the size of the Timberlands proposal revealed yesterday.

    "An important fact the minister has chosen to ignore is that the 1986 accord never actually specified that a beech logging scheme go ahead.

    "And a 1995 High Court ruling said that "there was no commitment in that (the Accord) to provide a beech scheme at all and certainly not of any particular quantities and dimensions."

    "Tony Ryall has also got it wrong in claiming that when the accord was signed the parties envisaged a beech scheme of 137,000 cubic metres a year.

    "This is utter rubbish. That figure was the working party's estimate of the potential sustainable yield of a beech scheme. It was never envisaged by responsible parties to the accord that such volumes would be logged.

    "Mr Ryall's pathetic attempts to try and re-interpret the past simply show the depth of the government's embarrassment over the large-scale nature of Timberlands' latest plans.

    "The issue in 1998 is what is appropriate now. The latest proposal is a Think Big-style scheme that fails to take a sustainable approach to economic development on the West Coast.

    "Rather than try and create a smokescreen of misinformation, Mr Ryall should be moving to ensure that Timberlands' disastrous plans, which aim at a market that doesn't exist, are properly analysed," Helen Clark said

     


    News Release
    10 September 1998

            Coasters need job opportunities, not think-big projects.

    Green Party Co-leader Rod Donald has slammed Timberland West Coast's beech scheme proposal as a think-big project which will rip off West Coast resources and deliver very few jobs in return. "Coasters need job opportunities, not think-big projects," Rod Donald MP said.

    "I urge West Coasters to treat with scepticism any claims Timberland's makes about new jobs resulting from its plans to cut down West Coast beech forests.

    "Timberlands have demonstrated time and time again that their primary commitment is to their own bottom line rather than boosting the local economy and creating sustainable employment.

    "The Charleston overcut has not only destroyed magnificent forests it is also, in Timberland's own words, unsustainable.  That means in a very short space of time there will be no jobs left.  Had the forests been left to stand, there could have been on-going income from tourism.

    "But the cruellest cut of all is Timberland's decision, on economic grounds, to export 45% of West Coast's pine production as whole logs.

    "Enormous job opportunities could be created if these logs were milled and processed on the West Coast."

    "The government should make up its mind whether Timberlands is purely a money-making venture, in which case it should be treated like other Crown owned entities, or whether Timberlands should play a role in the sustainable development of the West Coast, in which case it should invest in a whole range of down-stream industries to process those pine logs, such as furniture making, to create jobs and wealth for the local community.

    "For as long as even a single pine log leaves the Coast unprocessed there can be no justification for any beech scheme," Rod Donald said.

                                      Contact:  04 470 6660   or   025 507


    Friday, 11 September 1998, 12:26 pm
    Press Release: New Zealand Government

    Will Damien O'Connor Desert The West Coast Too?

    State Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall has written to Damien O'Connor seeking clarification of the West Coast MP's support for the West Coast Accord and sustainable forestry management on the West Coast.

    "Helen Clark's Labour party, Native Forest Action (we didn't actually) and Forest and Bird all signed the West Coast Accord in 1986. The Accord locked up 181,000 hectares of native forests to bring the total area of protected forest to 1.4 million hectares. It also made 130,000 hectares available for production forestry in perpetuity.

    "Labour, NFA and Forest and Bird are now welshing on that deal and breaking faith with the people of the West Coast.

    "Damien O'Connor has been an ardent supporter of the West Coast Accord in the past. I am writing to him asking whether he will continue to do so, or whether he will desert the people of the West Coast and get in to bed with Native Forest Action and Forest and Bird.

    "West Coast families could lose their livelihoods thanks to Helen Clark and her mates in Native Forest Action and Forest and Bird.

    "Damien O'Connor must make it clear to the people who sent him to Parliament where he stands on this issue."

    ENDS


     

    Press Release 22/09/98

    NFA RELEASE REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT POLICY

    Native Forest Action released its policy on regional development today calling for a better deal for the West Coast. To mark the occasion the conservation group produced 18,000 postcards which they are distributing around the country in an effort to make New Zealanders from other regions realise that West Coasters deserve more than they are getting. The post card carries a slogan which reads "Give West Coasters a Better Deal: Development Assistance In Exchange For Conservation."

    "We want people to realise that conservation without realistic compensation for local people is not acceptable, especially at a time when life for many West Coasters is difficult enough," NFA spokesperson Annette Cotter said.

    The NFA regional development policy which is being sent to all relevant MPs includes supporting local initiatives such as a levy on coal exports, pine planting in the Buller, local ownership of the state pine resource, increased health and education funding, giving local councils a shareholding in Solid Energy, a levy on international departure tax to help fund the West Coast Tourism Council, funding for sewage disposal schemes, development grants for local businesses, and a pest and weed control programme for protected areas on the West Coast employing people with a West Coast electoral address.

    "This is not a handout but a strategy for regional development across all sectors which many New Zealanders will support. The West Coast economy has been drained of its wealth for too long and it is time the rest of the nation paid something back. The nationally significant lowland forests are the collateral for this deal, and we will support any other locals who want to use them as a means of making social and economic gains for the Coast," Ms Cotter said.

    "If there was no alternative for West Coast development than to log our publicly owned native forests then we would support it. But there many alternatives, and so long as these alternatives exist we should seriously consider them."

     

    BACK TO INDEX

     


     

    News release Sunday 4 October 1998

     

    NATIONAL WILL RELEASE ‘THINK BIG’ BEECH FOREST LOGGING PLANS THIS WEEK

    National’s beech forest logging plans will be released this Wednesday

    (October 7) by SOE Minister Tony Ryall accompanied by a public relations blitz to try to convince the public that Timberlands' native forest logging in New Zealand needs to be expanded.

    Native Forest Action says that the beech logging scheme plans show an anti-conservation government captured by forestry professionals, who is out of step with the public wish for conservation of our native forests.

    Spokesperson Dean Baigent-Mercer said that the "Think Big" logging plans, covering 100,000 hectares of West Coast beech forest, completely ignore the evidence that these forests are of outstanding wildlife and ecological values and should not be logged at all.

    Native Forest Action released extracts from a leaked copy of a Timberlands' wildlife report covering the Maruia Valley, where the SOE has recently begun beech logging (in the middle of the best areas). The report reveals that the Maruia Forests are 97% old growth [unlogged] forests with exceptional numbers of rare native birds like the yellow-crowned parakeets/kakariki and circumstantial evidence of South Island kokako existence - otherwise thought to be extinct.

    "The scientific evidence confirms what Mrs Shipley’s Government refuses to hear: that these vibrant forests are far too precious to allow roading and logging into them. The report also shows that Timberlands is cynically starting logging in the heart of one of the best native forests left in New Zealand. Timberlands are undoubtedly environmental criminals."

    "The Maruia wildlife survey highlights the tragedy of logging forests when we do not even know about most of the animals living in them. The contents reveal that it's uncertain whether one or both of New Zealand’s rare bat species are present in the forests and states lamely that it is not known what affect logging will have on the bat populations."

    "Last weekend NFA held a national planning meeting in a beech forest. There we organised the coming months of actions, to put an end to these disgraceful logging plans."


     

    BEECH SCHEME RELEASE

    "What’s the big deal? There is nothing in these plans that was not leaked to the media four weeks ago by Native Forest Action," NFA Education Officer Dr Sean Weaver said.

    "It is not a question of how many trees per hectare should be logged but whether these forests should be logged at all.

    "We are talking about large scale industrial logging in some of the best forests in the country - the last remaining lowland forests. We used to have many but they are now sheep and dairy farms."

    "Our conservation estate is primarily high altitude and lowland habitats are seriously underrepresented in our reserves. The idea of sustainability includes protected areas. We need only use the principle of sustainable harvests in areas which cannot be put into reserves. These lowland forests deserve reserve status."

    "Not a single independent ecologist has supported their plans. The orchestrated ‘scientific’ endorsements all come from recipients of Timberlands research funding," Dr Weaver said.

    "Timberlands claim only 15 trees per hectare will be logged, but their plans provide for another 30 trees per hectare to be felled and left lying on the ground as ‘improvement logging.’

    "This gives us an equivalent density of logging as that in the controversial ‘unsustainable’ logging in Charleston Forest. New roads – stoat and possum highways – will be pushed all through the forests to support helicopter operations."

    "They also claim that control of predators and pests will improve wildlife values in the forests. This is a cynical deception. There are no commitments in the plans to fund these activities. Timberlands is one of the funding agencies for some short-term research trials being conducted by other organisations. That’s all. In fact, section 6.2 of their plans specifically state that Timberlands will not provide major long-term funding of predator and pest control."

     

     


    News release Tuesday 6 October 1998

     

    NOTHING NEW IN TIMBERLANDS BEECH LOGGING PLANS

    Native Forest Action says that beech logging plans being released today are exactly the same documents it leaked four weeks ago, only this time they come with Timberlands’ deceptive public relations materials. The group says that the SOE has spent nearly a million dollars on PR in the last 12 months to try to build support for its native forest logging plans.

    "It is offensive that National has allowed Timberlands to spend nearly a million dollars on PR trying to portray native forest logging as good for the environment," spokesperson Dean Baigent-Mercer said. "Native forest loggers always try to claim their logging is harmless – they should not be trusted."

    "Mrs Shipley’s government does not seem to care about people or nature. It is a sick government that backs an expansion of rainforest logging in the 1990s. We are certain the public is on our side to stop the logging."

    "We note that not a single independent ecologist is backing their plans. The orchestrated ‘scientific’ endorsements all come from recipients of Timberlands funding."

    The Timberlands’ materials are deliberately misleading:

    "They claim only 15 trees per hectare will be logged, but their plans provide for another 30 per hectare to be felled and left lying on the ground as ‘improvement logging’ resulting in a greater density of logging than in the controversial ‘unsustainable’ logging in Charleston Forest. New roads – stoat and possum highways – will be pushed all through the forests to support helicopter operations."

    "They also claim that control of predators and pests will improve wildlife values in the forests. This is a cynical deception. There are no commitments in the plans to fund these activities. Timberlands is one of the funding contributors to some short-term research trials being conducted by other organisations – and makes much of this in its PR – but the plans specifically state that Timberlands will not provide major long-term funding of predator and pest control (section 6.2)."

    "The Maruia forests, where they have begun beech logging, are outstanding wildlife areas. The issue is not how to log them, but that they should not be logged at all."

     


     

    SALE OF COAL CORP - A SIGN OF THINGS TO COME

    The sale of Coal Corp is a sign of things to come according to Native Forest Action, and will lead to the sale of Timberlands soon enough if the current government gets its way.

    "The beech scheme is simply a way for the Government to increase the sale price of the SOE. If the Government was really committed to the well being of West Coasters it wouldn’t have created the economic conditions that led to the closure of factories, banks, offices and hospital wards, NFA spokesperson Annette Cotter said.

    According to the conservation group Timberlands clearly demonstrated its contempt for local people by the way it shafted the Buller sub-region by carting its rimu to Hokitika for milling.

    "What happened in the Buller over the rimu milling is a smaller scale version of what is happening to the West Coast in general. Timberlands will continue to use the Coast to feather its nest and will continue to fly away with your money."

    What the West Coast needs is a government that is committed to West Coast regional development and not "Think Big" projects like a beech scheme which will end up giving the cake to rich and leaving most Coasters scratching for the crumbs."

    The conservation group claim that the Timberlands sponsorship of local sports teams on the West Coast is nothing more than a public relations exercise to divert people’s attention from where the real money is going.

    "At the moment the bulk of Timberlands profits leave the West Coast. When it is sold the profits will leave the country," Ms Cotter said.


    News release 20 November 1998: THOUSANDS OF ANTI-LOGGING SUBMISSIONS DELIVERED TO GOVERNMENT AND – POINTEDLY – ALSO TO OPPOSITION PARTIES

    Native Forest Action delivered over 5,000 public submissions opposing West Coast native forest logging to the government today, telling National that New Zealanders do not want any further logging of public native forests. In addition thousands more have been sent directly to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) by individuals and groups throughout New Zealand.

    The submissions were delivered by a stunning (Wearable Art Award winning) tree, dancers in native bird costumes and NFA supporters – with full sets of the submissions also given to the opposition party representatives present.

    "We have been thrilled at the numbers of people motivated to write submissions in favour of protecting the forests," spokesperson Dean Baigent-Mercer said. "It is now impossible for Jenny Shipley to claim New Zealanders accept Timberlands’ rainforest logging."

    "Mrs Shipley’s enthusiastic support for native forest logging is totally out of step with the public. Because we do not trust her to take the submissions seriously, we are giving copies of all the submissions to the opposition parties as well. We are looking to them to end National’s trashing of our natural forest heritage."

    Most of the individually-written submissions were delivered by hand, but substantial numbers were also forwarded to MAF by e-mail. This is believed to be the first public submission process in New Zealand where many hundreds of people have responded to the plans electronically.

    "Most pro-logging ‘submissions’, by contrast, are photocopied form letters which have been circulated by Timberlands to try to get support for its own logging plans. We are appalled that a state organisation has used public
    money to play politics in this way."

     

     


    News release 21 Nov 1998: UNPRECEDENTED INTERNATIONAL INTEREST IN THE FATE OF NEW ZEALAND RAINFORESTS

    Many hundreds of people from all over the world have sent submissions to the New Zealand government urging an end to all logging of New Zealand's unique temperate rainforests. Native Forest Action, which was sent copies of over six hundred of these overseas submissions, says that New Zealand is viewed as one of the countries where rainforest logging is a tragedy that must end.

    The submissions were sent as part of the government's public consultation on the fate of West Coast beech forests which closed yesterday, after New Zealand conservation groups had posted news of Timberlands' beech logging proposals on the Internet.

    "Hundreds of people, from 32 different countries wrote strong pleas urging our government to stop native forest logging. When New Zealanders talk of rainforest destruction we imagine countries like Brazil, but overseas there is, likewise, concern about the fate of our temperate rainforests," spokesperson Dean Baigent-Mercer said. "It is easy for New Zealanders to take for granted how internationally unique and interesting our ancient native forests are."

    "The submissions have arrived from countries as far flung as Jamaica and Lithuania (see list below). There was also a large amount of interest from countries that send tourists to New Zealand, such as North American and European countries. They ask the reasonable question why on earth New Zealand would harm one of its greatest assets."

    "In total about 10,000 people had written submissions on West Coast native logging by yesterday's closing date, with an overwhelming majority of these opposed to any further logging. With thousands of people concerned enough to write personal submissions in favour of conservation, National has no option but to rethink its inexplicable support for continued logging."

    "10,000 submissions is almost unheard of in a six week period."

    For more information, call Dean Baigent-Mercer, 04 3835168

    Lithuania, Moscow, Netherlands, Norway, UK, Irish Republic , Israel, USA, Canada, Australia, Italy, Germany, Korea, Malaysia, South Africa, France, Japan, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Iceland, Vanuatu, Hong Kong, Lebanon, Singapore, Alaska, Columbia, Jamaica, Equador, Austria, United Arab Emirates and Ukraine.


    25 November 1998 CRI report exposes Timberlands propaganda

    An independent Landcare Research report released today by the Forest and Bird Protection Society shows that Timberlands' West Coast beech scheme is unsustainable, says Rod Donald, Green Party Co-Leader.

    "The Landcare report is dynamite.  It is a damning indictment of Timberlands pseudo-science and the National Party politicians who've been sucked in by it," said Rod Donald.

    "The fact that the Landcare researchers reached such a different conclusion to Timberlands researchers shows how little is known about modelling native forests for sustainable timber management.

    "Until now, it had been difficult to counter Timberlands' claims of sustainability, although we have maintained that the ability to manage the Timberlands forests as a successful wood farm is no justification for the scheme.

    "However the Landcare report reveals that the Timberlands model 'has a large systemic bias that contributes to an illusion of sustainability'. This conclusion blows Timberlands beech logging plans right off the map.

    "Instead of spending $700,000 over the last year on propaganda to promote its beech scheme, Timberlands should have devoted more resources to researching the enormous impact of its logging plans.

    "In the light of Landcare's research that the Timberland's model over estimates the number of millable trees by 95 percent over 50 years the Minister of State Owned Enterprises, Tony Ryall, should at the very least tell Timberlands to go away and do their homework again.

    "However the best outcome would be for the Government to abandon the beech scheme altogether and implement a decent regional development strategy for the West Coast," Rod Donald said.

     


    Native Forest Action

    News release 24 December 1998

    GOVERNMENT'S BEECH LOGGING SCHEME WILL NEVER HAPPEN

    Native Forest Action says that the giant beech forest logging scheme announced by the Government yesterday is the fourth time a government has approved a West Coast beech scheme since the early 1970s. They say that just as public opinion stopped the previous three schemes, the current proposal will never get off the ground.

    "There is no way New Zealanders are going to allow a huge new logging scheme into our native beech forests," spokesperson Dean Baigent Mercer said. "Just as public opinion has stopped all previous attempts to exploit the beech forests, we are confident that this latest scheme will be stopped."

    "It is obvious why the government guiltily announced this decision on 23 December in the Christmas rush. They know how unpopular it is. We intend to make this issue so controversial and damaging for the government in election year that it will never get off the ground."

    "Public opinion against logging has never been stronger and the campaign to stop the plans starts today. Department of Conservation has assessed that over 90% of the threatened forests are so ecologically valuable that, were they private land, the government would seek the buy them to protect them from logging. It is ridiculous that a government would let loggers in when it is public land."

    "Native Forest Action has arranged emergency planning meetings over the Christmas break to make plans to save the threatened 100,000 ha of beech forests once and for all."

     


    Media Release

    Tuesday 29 December 1998

    MRS SHIPLEY: ENVIRONMENTAL VANDAL OF THE YEAR"

    Native forest activists have awarded Prime Minister Jenny Shipley the shameful title of "Environmental Vandal of the Year" for 1998, saying that she has initiated and pursued environmental degradation, even outdoing her predecessor Jim Bolger.

    Native Forest Action spokesperson Dean Baigent-Mercer says that the Honourable Jenny Shipley has blazed the trail for governmental plans to expand logging of West Coast native beech forests, hand control of fisheries to the fishing companies and gut the Resource Management Act.

    "Against all odds Jenny Shipley has acted against overwhelming public opposition and has displayed an outstanding disregard of independent and informed scientific and economic advice on environmental matters."

    "Mrs Shipley has been the main backer of native forest logging in the government, most recently using her position as Prime Minister to disregard 10,000 submissions opposing the governments native beech logging plans. By contrast, even former Prime Minister Jim Bolger was backing a plan to end all native logging on the West Coast," says Baigent-Mercer.

    Native Forest Action members held an emergency meeting after Christmas reviewing the last year and making action plans to counter the new West Coast beech forest logging announced by the Government on 23 December.

    "New Zealanders should be concerned at having an anti-conservation Prime Minister running the country. Under her leadership, 1998 has been a black year for the environment."

    Native Forest Action is dismayed that these ancient forests continue to be logged, but believes it won’t be much longer before all the logging will be stopped. "Despite the efforts of people like Mrs Shipley, history is on the side of those working to protect our natural heritage."

    For information contact: Dean Baigent-Mercer 03-789-8734

     

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    Media Release

    Wednesday 30 December

    CONSERVATIONISTS HIGHLIGHT GOVERNMENT SMOKESCREEN AND CONTEMPT FOR PUBLIC OPINION

    Native Forest Action says the Government’s quiet release of its analysis of public submissions and approval in principle of Timberlands’ beech logging scheme just two days before Christmas was deliberately deceitful and shows its total contempt for public opinion.

    "The government attempted to hide the overwhelming national and international opposition to the beech logging scheme and divert the focus to only 36 submissions which they wanted to consider," says NFA spokesperson Dean Baigent-Mercer.

    In total, 12, 354 submissions commenting on the plans were received. Of these, 10,298 opposed Timberlands West Coast’s beech logging proposals. Only 2,038 submissions supported the scheme, and 18 were "neutral".

    The submissions opposing the logging came from all around the country, indicating widespread public opposition to the proposals.

    "And despite Timberlands’ constant assertion that their logging is ‘some of the most sustainable in the world’, international submissions gave a very strong ‘thumbs down’, with 1303 international submissions opposing the logging and just one in support," says Dean Baigent-Mercer.

    "There is no doubt in the public mind that the government should not have given the go ahead to the logging plans. Like issues in the health, and education sectors, National Party politicians have decided to snub ordinary New Zealanders’ views without even a veneer of democracy".

    "In its analysis, the government regarded only 36 submissions they deemed as ‘substantive’ and ignored the rest. David Carter, Associate Minister of Food and Fibre, criticised pro-conservation submissions for being written on NFA ‘forms’. In fact, those submissions that supported conservation weren’t form letters and contained people’s own thoughts and ideas. In contrast, the few submissions supporting Timberlands, the majority were ‘form letters’ in many cases dishonestly stating the person signing had spent time reading the logging plans."

     


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