Response To Jill Pettis On West Coast Forestry

  • Dr Lockwood Smith

The Government's decision to consult on a proposal to end unsustainable rimu logging on the West Coast had nothing to do with the Labour Party, Forestry Minister Lockwood Smith said tonight.

He was responding to a media statement from Labour's Jill Pettis.

"I wasn't aware of any pressure from Labour on this issue because I assumed they had no policy on forestry just as they have no policy on anything else," Dr Smith said.

Dr Smith also said he was surprised that Labour now claimed it wanted all indigenous forestry on the West Coast to end immediately.

"This is at odds with my understanding of West Coast MP Damien O'Connor's position on the issue.

"What's more, it was Labour's Phil Goff - still Labour's number six and a recognised contender for the party's leadership - who signed the West Coast Accord in 1986 which allowed for unsustainable forestry of rimu in the Buller through to the end of 2006, as well as sustainable forestry in perpetuity.

"He signed the Accord because Labour used to support the economic development of the West Coast.

"Labour's new position means it is prepared to sacrifice jobs on the West Coast in a futile pursuit of the green vote.

"The Government's proposal is greener than that signed up to by Labour and the environmental movement in 1986, and will also protect jobs on the West Coast."