A law change that would enable the harvesting of windblown trees on conservation land following adverse weather events has been voted down by Labour, National MP based in West Coast-Tasman Maureen Pugh says.
“This legislation would allow the Director-General of Conservation to authorise the removal of specified windblown trees on conservation land following a significant event.
“This is a practical bill which embraces environmental responsibility and supports regional economic development, it’s disgraceful Labour has chosen not to see it through to Select Committee, where they can implement changes to fix the technical issues they have raised – as well as hearing from the people this legislation would affect.”
The proposed law follows on from the legislation implemented by Dr Nick Smith following tropical Cyclone Ita in 2014, which saw a number of native forests in the West Coast and Tasman severely impacted.
“The 2014 legislation was supported right through the process by two Labour MPs. They saw the need for this legislation at the time, but it’s disappointing the Government didn’t take a similar pragmatic approach today when it denied further progress on my bill.
“Removing and processing windblown trees which would otherwise lie decomposing on the West Coast forest floor would provide much-needed jobs for the region along with clearing space for native regeneration.
“Cyclones over the years show how necessary this legislation is, as large quantities of trees were felled as a result of the weather.
“Clearly the Government hasn’t read it or familiarised themselves with the circumstances and benefits of Dr Smith’s Bill in 2014 – it is ignoring the fact that when applied permanently and nationwide, we can make effective use of a beautiful natural resource that would otherwise rot on the ground.
“Not supporting this bill to Select Committee is a missed opportunity and will see valuable resources continue to be wasted. It proves this Government has no faith in the Director-General of Conservation to make a sensible, pragmatic call on whether or not to extract small amounts of native timber felled naturally by an adverse weather event.”
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