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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. [Volume 39, Issue 8. April 1976]

No Reaction from Minister

No Reaction from Minister

The Minister has not yet reacted to this offer, except to say that he is 'sympathetic' to the idea of including some lowland forest in the National Park.

While this may seem encouraging, he is really only talking of a 'corridor' of forest to the sea, which is unacceptable to the members of NFAC.

The Okarito controversy is a continuation of the battle between the production forestry attitudes inherent in the Forst Service's mentality, and the desire for a fuller and more long term view of New Zealand's native forests.

NFAC has developed to promote and defend the qualities and worth of the native bush, particularly as the history of human occupation of New Zealand' has coincided with a wanton destruction of vast areas of the natural vegetation.

The continuation of this destriction can no longer be justified in terms of the need for agricultural land nor for large quantities of timber. Yet this is the attitude of the sawmillers of the West Coast and elsewhere who see the exploitation of native forests as a reasonable and justified economic activity.

Native forests are not suited for large scale commercial exploitation both because of their botanical and zoological significance, and economic factors. Long rotation periods (100 - 300 years), high transport and milling costs, erosion and pest control problems, and the interference with water catchments all militate against the use of forests on a sound long term basis.

The felling of West Coast Beech and Rimu forests can only be viewed as a short term gain for local millers, at the expense of all those who value standing native forests above sawn timber or chips.