09 MAR 2000

Mr Brian Swale
140 Panorama Road
CHRISTCHURCH

Dear Mr Swale

Thank you for your letter of 14 January 2000 concerning the Government's position on the Timberlands West Coast Limited forests.

The Government took a firm decision to cease the beech scheme. There has been a debate from ecological and political perspectives, before and since the election. As an elected government the mandate to make that decision was clear.

A group of senior Treasury and Commerce officials is working on an economic development package for the West Coast. They have met mayors from the region to discuss the details of such a package. No decisions have been made at this stage.

The final outstanding matter is that of the existing contract for harvesting rimu. Some of that is in the final year of the Buller overcut and from the end of 2000 the curent contracts provide for harvest on a sustainable basis. The Government is revisiting these contracts in light of its overall policy for the indigenous forests on lands managed by the crown.

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Yours sincerely

(Signed) Sandra Lee

Sandra Lee
Minister of Conservation

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Parliament Buildings, Wellington, New Zealand.   Telephone: (04)471 9679, Facsimile: (04) 495 8446