• Nick Smith

Conservation Minister Nick Smith says it is a bit rich for Forest and Bird to criticise the Government allowing 140,000 hectares of production indigenous forest, when that is exactly what the Society agreed and signed up to in 1986.

"Forest and Bird signed up to the West Coast Accord which set aside nearly 140,000 hectares of forest for sustainable forestry. For it to now claim these are pristine forests that cannot have any timber production is a total u-turn. It would be like the West Coast local interests wanting to take chainsaws into the National Parks and reserves agreed to as part of the Accord," said Dr Smith.

Dr Smith agreed with Forest and Bird and said he was totally opposed to clearfelling forests. He said the Government needed to bring unsustainable forestry to an end as soon as was possible.

"Forest and Bird and I part company when it comes to modern low-impact sustainable forestry. Given that New Zealand has over 4.6 million hectares of protected forests, it is not too much to set aside 140,000 hectares for sustainable management. Research has confirmed that sustainably managed forests do sustain wildlife like kiwi and kaka."

"The real threat to our forests in the 1990's is not sustainable logging, but pests like possums. They eat every night what is logged from the West Coast forests in a year. The conservation battle of the 1990's is not about logging, but introduced pests."