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07, May, 2012

New Plymouth District Council company implicated in forest logging: Tasmanian Devils at risk


Category: ECO Inc

Media release – 7 May 2012

New Plymouth District Council company implicated in forest logging: Tasmanian Devils at risk

Plans to destroy Tasmanian native forest and threatened species’ habitat  by the New Plymouth District Council’s were condemned by the Environment and Conservation Organisations of NZ (ECO) today.

ECO spokesperson Cath Wallace said the area is habitat for a range of Australian nationally threatened species, including freshwater fish and crayfish, the tiger quoll, threatened forest communities. 

“The proposal, condemned in an open letter this week from the Tasmanian Conservation Trust, is apparently to convert native forest areas to dairy land in a 7,000ha block.“

“Of major international concern, a population of Tasmanian devils, which is rare anyway, but rarer still for being free of the devastating face cancer virus that is killing other populations, is in the area and depends on the native forest for habitat.”

The proposals by New Plymouth owned company Van Diemen’s Land are terrible news for the Tasmanian environment and for New Zealand’s international reputation, says Cath Wallace, the ECO co chairperson.

“We call on Harry Duynhoven, Mayor of New Plymouth, and councillors and staff of the company and the New Plymouth District Council, to immediately and fully disclose both the Van Diemans Land Company’s  plans for clearing Tasmanian native forest, and the correspondence or other contact  between it and the Tasmanian and Federal government. “

Cath Wallace said we need to know just what this company plans,.

Van Diemans Land Company is 98.42% owned by Tasman Farms Ltd which is 87.94% by the New Plymouth District Council.

“It is irresponsible of the Council to invest rate payer funds into such environmentally harmful activities” Why can’t they invest in something in New Zealand which is constructive, generate jobs, and puts us onto a green economic path, such as energy efficiency or renewable energy programmes? said Cath Wallace.

Mayor Duyhoven’s response that nothing will be allowed without the approval of the Tasmanian government is no comfort:  the Tasmanian government has been allowing wholesale logging of its native forests for decades.

Cath Wallace said ecological studies are not a protection.  “We already know these areas are too important to log.”

New Zealand would not allow such native forest logging in our country, so why should the people of New Plymouth be saddled with such irresponsible investments? 

ECO calls on the New Plymouth District Council to reveal all now and call an immediate halt to any plans the company may have to log the forests.

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Notes:

ECO – the Environment and Conservation Organisations was established in 1972 and represents 55 groups with a concern for the environment.

The Tasmanian Conservation Trust (TCT) was founded in 1968 and it is the longest continuing environment organisation in Tasmania.  The Trust involves itself in the full range of conservation issues.

The Van Diemen's Land Company's vision is to be Australasia's largest and best dairy farmer through a combination of: continuing conversion of non-dairy farmland and bush land to dairy farms; [See http://www.vdlfarms.com.au/vision]

Van Diemen's Land Company announced in August that it planned to clear some of the 7000ha of forested land on its Woolnorth property to accommodate a $180 million expansion, which would triple its milk production over the next three to four years. [See http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2011/09/10/260391_tasmania-news.html]