Speaking at the annual ECO conference held over the weekend, the Minister of Conservation, Dr Nick Smith confirmed that
the government plans to privatise Timberlands West Coast Ltd – with the feeble reassurance that this wouldn’t happen
“before the election”.
"West Coasters have been sold a public relations dream of hundreds of new West Coast jobs by Timberlands and the
government with the beech forest logging scheme. In reality, the government couldn't wait to get the beech logging begun
to make the controversial company more attractive to investers", said Native Forest Action spokesperson Dean
"If Timberlands is privatised the West Coast will lose their native forests and exotic plantations providing work for
only a small handful of local jobs, while the vast majority of timber is exported as whole logs to other regions and
“There is a way out however: to negotiate a regional development package which will leave native forests unlogged,
maintaining biodiversity and utilised for the tourist industry, and transfer the control of the state-owned pine
plantations to local councils who would ensure West Coasters get the most employment out of the deal.”
“The privatisation of Timberlands would ensure the least possible work for West Coasters. As it is, a large percentage
of West Coast pine, rimu and beech is being exported to other regions without the local region benefitting much for
having these resources extracted.”
Native Forest Action has been aware of plans to sell Timberlands after three Japanese companies were approached by the
company last year.
“Native Forest Action wonders when and if the Timberlands front grounp Coast Action Native (CAN) will speak out against
the plans to privatise Timberlands”.