Coast Offer - 'A gob-stopper for suckers'.

    Monday 3 April 2000.


Press Release by Brian Swale, Christchurch.

" 'A gob-stopper for suckers' seems to be Government's attitude to West Coasters ", was the reaction of Brian Swale, discussing the government one-off $100 million grant in lieu of continuing the Timberlands beech forest management plans.

Mr Swale is a member of a pro-sustainable forestry e-mail group.

Beech log production is worth $30+ million annually up to the sawmill door stage. $100 million (pro-rata) lasts until next election.

"In reality, the grant needs to be $300 - $500 million to equal the return from sustainable beech forestry", said Mr Swale.

"The most damning aspect of the compensation package is the fact that the Government could not identify any development options available in the West Coast. As a result the Government has seriously confused injecting money into the region, with actually embarking on wealth-creating enterprises." commented Dr Brendan Moyle of Massey University.

Chris Perley, consultant, said that West Coast leaders should calculate the amount of the total opportunity cost to the 'Coast, forgone with the beech proposals denied. They should calculate the TOTAL economic, social and environmental opportunity the beech proposal would have provided right down the product chain to marketing the final product.

Gerry McSweeney, tourism executive, on National Radio, proclaimed the virtues of an increasing tourist harvest, versus commodity trading which he claimed was a losing path. He failed to observe that increasing fuel costs would reduce tourism, tourist seasonality reduced incomes, and that tourists enjoyably visit managed forests.

"Expert scrutiny reveals that the Timberlands' advanced techniques for ecologically-sensitive, perpetually sustainable, conservation-enhancing and profitable forest management are world-leading." concluded Mr Swale

Brian Swale represents a group of people promoting sustainable management of beech forests for fine timber and enhanced conservation.

He can be contacted at e-mail bj@caverock.net.nz