Thursday, August 16, 2018

More pillage

Back in 2014, the then-National government rammed through the West Coast Wind-blown Timber (Conservation Lands) Act 2014. The Act was an act of pure pillage, using the excuse of a strong storm to undermine the Forests (West Coast Accord) Act 2000 and allow National's donors and cronies to loot native timber from the conservation estate. The one good thing about the Act is that it is scheduled to expire next year. But naturally, National wants to extend it:

National MP Maureen Pugh is hoping to introduce a bill to Parliament soon on behalf of the West Coast Regional Council which would allow the Director-General of the Department of Conservation to authorise the removal of some windblown trees on conservation land following bad weather.

"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," Pugh said.

It is similar to legislation implemented by the former National government in 2014, opposed then by Labour and the Greens, after Cyclone Ita flattened large swathes of native forest in the region.

Worse, according to that article it has the support Shane Jones, and therefore probably NZ First. Which is odd as they opposed the 2014 version. But now they're promoting themselves as the champions of rural pillagers I guess.

This is the issue where the Greens should put their foot down, because it strikes at the very idea of conservation in New Zealand. These trees are on conservation land, and conservation land is for conserving, not for mining. But it also shows the gulf in mindset between the pillagers and the rest of New Zealand. As with its characterisation of rivers as "water flowing out to sea", National is characterising these trees as "waste". What they actually are is the nutrient cycle in action, and vital for the health of those forests. Removing them will actively undermine conservation. This bill needs to be opposed, both in the House and in the forests themselves.