The Government needs to support a proposed Local Bill which would enable the harvesting of windblown trees on Conservation Land in the West Coast following adverse events, National’s Maureen Pugh says.

“I have been working with the West Coast Regional Council since the Government blocked my motion to have my Members Bill on this topic introduced to Parliament in April. 

“This a practical Bill which embraces environmental responsibility and supports regional economic development, creating jobs and boosting incomes for families on the West Coast.

“It will allow the Director-General of the Department of Conservation to authorise the removal of specified windblown trees on Conservation Land following a significant event for harvesting.

“This Bill follows on from the legislation implemented by National following tropical Cyclone Ita which saw a number of native forests in the West Coast and Tasman severely impacted – legislation that was opposed then by Labour and the Greens.

“However, this 2014 legislation was supported by local Labour MPs Damien O’Connor and Rino Tirikatene. I challenge these MPs to respect the wish of the West Coast Regional Council and the people of the West Coast and support this Local Bill through Parliament.

“Removing and processing these trees which would otherwise lie decomposing on the West Coast forest floor would provide jobs for our region along with clearing space for native regeneration – two areas which NZ First claims to be passionate about.

“Recent Cyclones Gita and Fehi have made this Local Bill necessary as large quantities of trees were felled. We need to be prepared by implementing legislation to deal with significant events like this in the future.”

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