Conservation Minister restarted native logging against advice

Conservation Minister Nick Smith ignored scientific and technical advice when he pushed through law changes to allow logging on West Coast conservation land, the Green Party said today.

Conservation Minister Nick Smith ignored scientific and technical advice when he pushed through law changes to allow logging on West Coast conservation land, the Green Party said today.

 

New information released to TVNZ shows that the Department of Conservation (DOC) was critical of proposals to allow logging in West Coast native forests, which are protected as conservation land.

 

“DOC clearly advised that logging was a high risk and would adversely impact to conservation values. DOC advised that logging would affect forest ecology, remove food sources for birds, and change natural forest succession processes," said Green Party conservation spokesperson Eugenie Sage.

 

"National cannot be trusted to protect our treasured places and public conservation lands or listen to sound science.

 

“Our conservation land is supposed to be protected, yet National has opened it up for mining, and now logging.

 

“DOC also advised the Minister that selling fallen timber to fund pest control would not result in a conservation net benefit,”

 

“DOC highlighted that it would need to do more than just some pest control, and that the pest control proposed would be helping species that were not impacted by the logging.

 

“Clearly the Minister had decided to upend the 30-year consensus that conservation land should be protected from logging, and ignore the scientific advice of his department.

 

“New Zealanders fought for years to end logging on public land and to protect our rimu and beech forests. National has turned back the clock to the destructive practices of the 1980s and 1990s," said Ms Sage.

 

“The DOC briefing note makes it clear that under National, DOC and MPI have been investigating opening up protected areas on conservation land for logging since at least 2012. The windthrow caused by Cyclone Ita was just a convenient excuse for the Minister to push legislation through Parliament to change our conservation law to allow logging.

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