Native Forest Action people who ventured into the Orikaka Forest to protest were lucky not to have been killed according
to State-Owned Enterprise Timberlands Ltd. John Howard reports.
Timberlands spokesperson, Rob Dalley said, "The NFA protestors had entered the forest unannounced and had trespassed
into an operational area where rimu was being stacked after being extracted from other areas of the forest."
Mr Dalley said Timberlands was going about its lawful business which is still sanctioned by this and the previous
The rimu is part of the government allowed unsustainable overcut due to end this year after being bought back from 2006.
Asked whether the protesters were chased from the area Mr Dalley said, "They certainly were because we could not allow
them to put themselves and our crews in danger."
The photograph which NFA claims is rimu from Orikaka Forest could not be verified.
Meanwhile, Coaster's who saw the 60 Minutes television programme last night about a potential $80 billion worth of gold
under some West Coast beech forests say the Government can never again claim that New Zealand is broke and cannot afford
free health, education and welfare for its people.
Many West Coasters along with people from other areas still pan for alluvial gold in rivers and creeks. The size of that
industry is unknown but families regularly travel to the West Coast to prospect for gold.
Potential income from the now-stopped beech tree harvesting was estimated to be worth $300 million over 30 years while
large oil deposits are also known to be offshore from the West Coast.
While on shore at Kumara, oil and natural gas drilling sites are still capped after explorations 30 years ago.
New Zealand has some of the largest national parks in the world running down the West Coast and it is almost impossible
to police against people from cities like Christchurch, for example, stealing native ferns, shrubs and firewood for sale
in that city.
Now that more West Coast forests are being locked-up from timber production, marijuana is also likely to be a growth
industry because people discovered with plots growing on Crown land do not face the risk of losing their own property
under the proceeds of crimes act.