June 26, 2014
Tirikatene logs vote for tree salvage
Labour MPs Rino Tirikatene and Damien O’Connor last night crossed the floor to vote in support of a Government bill allowing salvaging of wind blown trees from the West Coast conservation estate.
The rest of Labour, the Greens, New Zealand First and Mana voted against the bill, which passed by 65 votes to 51.
Mr Tirikatene, whose Te Tai Tonga electorate includes the West Coast, says Maori were aware of conservation values, but they were also pragmatic.
He says Labour would have supported the bill if National had made the changes it sought, including limiting the bill to two years instead of five and taking out some areas where timber could be removed from.
The bill ends a 27-year-old agreement to not log native trees on conservation land.
About 20,000 hectared of trees were blown over by Cyclone Ita in April.
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