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Submission due - Forests Amendment Bill

Issued 24 July 1999

Forwarded on behalf of Native Forest Action ...

The West Coast native beech forests need your help!

Submissions due by Tuesday 10 August 1999.

Just when the logging of our native forests should be ending forever, the government announced in December 1998 that it would allow the government logging company, Timberlands West Coast Ltd, to begin logging an additional 98,000 hectares of ancient native forest. This amounts to tens of thousands of native beech trees each year. These forests are home to rare and endangered native birds, bats, and other creatures. They are public forests - our forests.

Also, under 'urgency', the government has sped the Forests Amendment Bill through its first reading in Parliament on 13 July 1999.

The Forests Amendment Bill, if made law, would lift the ban on wood-chipping native trees and export of the chips. Once again, ships laden with our shredded forests will depart for overseas paper mills where our rainforests will end up as glossy magazines.

Each shipload would carry the equivalent of 350 hectares of native forest and the certain death of 2500 native birds that would inhabit an area of forest this size.

It is fairly obvious why this bill has been put forward; since December, Timberlands has been struggling to find a market for beech - financially their situation is dire. This bill is a last-ditch attempt by the government to keep Timberlands logging - regardless of the cost to our forests.

The bill also gives Timberlands a legal basis to continue the 'over-cutting' (heavy indiscriminate logging) of native rimu forests for another year and a half - this should have ended two years ago.

How do I write a submission?

Just head up a sheet of paper: "Submission on the Forests Amendment Bill", then write! What you say is up to you. The important thing is to say something - and send it in so that it arrives by 5pm Tuesday 10 August. Keep it brief, but be specific. Remember to include your name, postal address and phone number.

Key points that relate to Timberlands and the Forests Amendment Bill

  • Lifting the wood-chipping ban would provide Timberlands with a market for their beech. If chipping is banned, more forest stays standing due to the difficult nature of processing beech as timber and ultimately, Timberlands would have to wind up its indigenous logging operation.
  • Chipping native forests is an obscene waste.
  • After 31 December 2000 Timberlands will be required to 'sustainably' log all its native forests (i.e. bring them under the environmentally weak Forests Act 1949). Although the use of the word 'sustainable' makes it sound rosy, there is little emphasis on real conservation. 'Sustainable logging' is not ecologically sustainable - it's just a slower way of degrading forests than the traditional heavy logging.
  • The bill is based around the outdated forestry idea that we should cut down native trees. One of its stated aims is for "improved commercial opportunities for timber products from sustainably managed forests".
  • All native forests controlled by Timberlands should be protected from logging immediately and become new National Parks and reserves under the Department of Conservation.
The deadline for submissions is 5 pm, Tuesday 10 August 1999.

Post to: Transport and Environment Select Committee
Parliament Buildings

or you can make a submission online at

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