Political survival or Environmental sustainability?

   
Monday 8 May 2000.


Press Release from Brian Swale, member of sustainable forestry campaign group.

Retaining political power at any cost, is the indigenous forestry game.

Recent events show that for Labour, Alliance and the Greens, the truth, environmental sustainability, survival of a region and lots of our money are all happily sacrificed to retain power, according to sustainable forestry campaigner, Brian Swale.

The South Westland sustainable rimu forests, a net 8861 ha (the size of a couple of big farms) produce about $2 million a year locally from fewer than 1300 trees a year - one 770th of the live rimu, and yielding additional value nationally. Native wildlife thrives under the management, and the forest regenerates as planned.

"Audits show the forest ecology is thriving" he said.

Despite clear proof to the contrary, Greens MP Rod Donald wrote recently that native birdlife is being decimated and the forests "trashed" and "destroyed" through the management.

"Simply not true, and he misleads New Zealanders".

Likewise, the Deputy PM, in his West Coast speech to Parliament on Wednesday 3 May, called this "unsustainable forestry", "destroying forests", and "low-priced resource extraction".
All these descriptions are untrue.

"Apparently he has not bothered to take up numerous opportunities to understand the truth. Now he expects West Coasters to pay for this through their loss, and the rest of us to pay through our purses. "

"$120 million are to be wasted in ending environmental sustainability that already returns value to people, forests and wildlife. And the forests remain, enhanced."

"Contrast this with Northland, where a quarter of a million dairy cows on former kauri forest land cause severe stream and estuarine siltation and pollution through tons of dung. And the forests have not remained."

"Likewise for the waving red-tussock swamps and rimu forest of lowland Southland." said Mr Swale.

The same arguments about rimu apply to the Timberlands beech sustainable management plans that would produce locally $32 million or more for ever, from just 5 per cent of the West Coast forest (outside National Parks), leaving the beech ecosystems in that estate healthier and more vigorous.

These policy decisions make no economic sense, will result in high national costs, local unemployment and high social costs - and all for Labour, Alliance and the Greens to feel they will stay in power as a result.

The Deputy PM said that the $120 million is the best chance the West Coast ever had to plan their economy.

"Compare this with the $32 million a year on the 'Coast alone, sustainably - for ever - from the beech part alone of the West Coast Accord, and draw your own conclusions."

"The environmental arguments used by these MP's are similarly arrant nonsense."

"West Coasters and the rest of us deserve better and wiser political acts than these." concluded Mr Swale.

Brian Swale is a forestry professional who supports the practice of environmentally sound sustainable forestry.
He can be contacted at
http://www.caverock.net.nz/~bj/beech/ and 03-326-7447.