West Coast Labour MP Damien O'Connor is undermining his own leader Helen Clark over beech logging contracts, the Green
Yesterday Helen Clark claimed Labour was surprised to learn that eight-year contracts had been signed for milling logs
prior to Labour announcing its indigenous forest policy - that includes ending West Coast beech milling - on September
10. However, on 31 August, 10 days before Labour's policy announcement, Mr O'Connor was reported in the Grey Star urging
that good long-term contracts for beech milling be put in place as soon as possible.
On 25 August, Mr O'Connor, also in the Grey Star, stated that "a Labour government would not necessarily halt
sustainable logging of West Coast native beech forests".
This was in response to Timberlands chief executive David Hilliard claiming that a change of government later this year
could squash its beech logging plans.
"I don't think so," Mr O'Connor said in the West Coast newspaper.
"O'Connor's been urging Timberlands to lock in long-term beech logging contracts from the day National gave the scheme
the go-ahead," said Green MP Rod Donald.
"He has clearly done everything in his power to undermine his leader's stand on saving some of New Zealand's most
precious lowland forest."
The Green Party urges Labour to cancel these beech contracts and also the rimu contracts which were pushed through prior
to Labour's policy announcement.
"Just because Helen Clark admitted on Morning Report this morning that Labour knew about the rimu contracts before their
policy announcement doesn't make them any more tolerable.
"In the meantime Clark should call O'Connor to account or admit that Labour has two forest policies - one for West
Coasters and one for Green voters throughout the rest of the country."