Native Forest Action

SECRETS AND LIES

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An important book has been launched: 'Secrets and Lies – the anatomy of an anti-environmental PR campaign', written by New Zealand writer/researcher Nicky Hager and Australian environmental journalist Bob Burton.

'Secrets and Lies' is significant as the world's most comprehensive dissection of an anti-environmental public relations campaign based on many hundreds of pages of leaked confidential public relations files.

The case study shows the relationship between Timberlands West Coast Ltd (the NZ government-owned rainforest logging company) and its PR companies Shandwick (a global public relations company) and Head Consultants (a Christchurch-based PR company). It reveals the obsessive lengths they have gone to, spending millions of NZ taxpayer dollars, to keep Timberlands' rainforest logging going.

Meticulously researched, 'Secrets and Lies' unveils Timberlands and Shandwick systematically attacking critics, arranging the creation of an 'independent' pro-logging community group, cultivating allies in academia, industry, Parliament and environment groups, compromising the independence of public servants and journalists – all in the unworthy cause of keeping native forest logging going after most New Zealanders believe it should end.

Importantly, it documents all those people who have actively assisted the companies and those who have been unknowingly recruited in support.

Support is exposed at the highest level of political power – to the top floor of the beehive – and includes the Prime Minister, Jenny Shipley who must ultimately take responsibility for this debacle.

This sort of analysis often occurs many years after an event has passed; however, this work is lethally current. Jenny Shipley’s first response has been to deny everything – unsurprisingly.

However, the forests are still falling today. Timberlands is right now heavily logging rimu, beech and matai in Orikaka forest, habitat of many bird threatened species.

I am hoping the exposure of these secrets and lies will help bring about the end of Timberlands native forest logging.

'Secrets and Lies' is available in most New Zealand bookshops, and a US edition will be published shortly.

Dean Baigent-Mercer

National Spokesperson

Native Forest Action


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