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STATE FORESTRY

HAS IT BEEN JUSTIFIED ?

(To the Edltir.) Sir, —I'see that there ifcave been soma grumblings and mutterings iv Parliament by, Mr. Hargest, M.P., of Invercargill, about the national forest policy and its instrumentality, the State Forest Service. May I add a few* words? In the field of national forest conservation New Zealand has not done too badly during the period from 1918 to 1034, in fact in many respects she has made several new world records. Today she owns nearly eight million' acres of regulated Crown forests which are good for a continuous annual wood outturn of 250,000,000 superficial feet in the form of sawn-timber.,, and. an immense tonnage of raw material for the manufacture of plastic forms and cellulose products. New "Zealand also holds in for softwood plantations 400,000 acres of highly productive timber farms which, within a short time, will be annually yielding over 500,000,000 superficial feet of industrial timber and other valuable basic materials. .

You have regimented your wood heritage into permanently productive channels; you have stopped the leaks In the squandering of the national forest wealth by • tightening up of its management and control. The introduction of modern prevent tion and suppression methods by the forest authority has virtually stopped forest fire losses, while your, liberal and enlightened legislative administration has definitely encouraged private and local planting enthusiasts to the extent of planting 300,000 acres in commercial forests. And in the hearts'of New Zealanden toJ day- there lives a true love and appreciation of their forests.

This planned forest economy has placed New Zealand in the front rank. You' say:—"At "what cost, and for what return!" Plenty has been spent—it will soon ■bo £4,000,00! of the taxpayers' money. As to returns—measured in money' only—tho writer predicts these can be comfortably £750,000' net annually within a few years.: But the time has now arrived, however, to take stock of tht deeds ocrtnisdeeds 'of tlie last decade or so, for it is as good f&v a country as it in. for oneself to stop occasionally and just look around. Now Zealand, with a great display, of enthusiasm and' idealism, ■ started out with a nice new forestry broom jiift about fifteen years ago, and today *hat force may be worn a bit thin. It' is only right therefore that we should take a good look at things and ask ourselves whether the national forest "programme has justified itself when measured in terms of usefulness to the. community. What contributions has State Forestry made to the national safety and economic! progress?' Does the plan of forest conservation in use meet the practical needs of industry? Has the policy adequately assisted i» solving the Dominion's waste lands problem?

Is the State Forest Service doing itc job?

These and many other questions ar« legitimate subjects for inquiry at this time, and, if Mr. Hargest is articulate on these points,, I for one would heartily Hup. port him in a genera] check-up, for when it is all said, and done State Forestry, muet get results to live and be ready at all timen to stand the fierce light of public criticism and candid review. I have, however^ no fear of the result, for national forestry in New Zealand is sound through and through.—l am, etc.,"- • .

L. MACINTOSH ELLIS, Late Director of Forestry to the Govern ment of New Zealand, 1919-28.

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STATE FORESTRY Evening Post, Volume CXVII, Issue 8, 10 January 1934

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