[Documents menu]History of Aotearoa and New Zealand
Date: Tue, 24 Jun 97 08:30:12 CDT
From: rich@pencil (Rich Winkel)
Subject: New Zealand Rainforest Spared By Court Decision /** headlines: 180.0 **/
** Topic: New Zealand Rainforest Spared By Court Decision **
** Written 4:03 PM Jun 23, 1997 by econet in cdp:headlines **
/* Written 12:10 PM Jun 21, 1997 by ENVIRO@salata.com in alt.save.the.earth */
/* ---------- "E-Link: New Zealand's Buller Forest" ---------- */
This news story is from the Environment News Service:

New Zealand's Buller Forest saved

From Environment News Service (ENS)
20 June 1997

WELLINGTON, New Zealand, June 20, 1997 (ENS) - Conservationists have welcomed a Court of Appeal decision that has saved old growth rimu forests on New Zealand's west coast. "The Court of Appeal's decision on the West Coast Forests case is a blessing for native forests and their wildlife," said Eugenie Sage, Forest and Bird Protection Society spokesperson.

In February, protesters from Native Forest Action occupied the forests just north of the Paparoa National Park in a bid to halt the clearfelling in the centuries old rainforest in the Buller River area on New Zealand's South Island.

The Court of Appeal last week dismissed an appeal by West Coast Resource Interests against the High Court's September 1995 decision that the Crown had not breached the West Coast Accord. West Coast Resource Interests sought 166,000 cubic metres of podocarp evergreen trees annually from South Westland and $425 million in damages from the Crown for alleged breaches of the Accord. In dismissing the appeal, the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court's decision that the Accord is a contract.

"Timberlands (a state owned logging company) has argued repeatedly that the (West Coast) Accord obliges it to continue its highly destructive native forest logging until 2006 in Buller," said Sage. "The Court of Appeal says that this section of the Accord is only a recital which summarises Government policy and is not part of the Accord contract, and so is not binding on the Crown.

"The decision means Timberlands' major argument for logging disappears. The West Coast Accord does not require the company to keep felling native forests in Buller," Sage said. "There is no excuse now for Government permitting a state owned logging company to interpret the Accord for its own ends and continue to destroy these forests."

The Forest and Bird Protection Society was a signatory to the West Coast Accord and accepted the concept of "community viability." The Accord allowed clearfelling until pine plantations were ready for logging.

Forest and Bird Deputy President Bill Gilbertson said that the Buller milling industry has now switched to pine and the local communities' economic viability is not in jeopardy.

Gilbertson said that one of the most galling things about the Buller rimu logging was that there is no need for it. "We can make our coffee tables and furniture out of plantation woods and save our rainforests."

More than half of the native timber cut in New Zealand comes from Timberlands' Buller clearfelling.

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