ABOLITION OF STATE FORESTS DEPARTMENT.
Mr Moat asked the Government whether, as commonly reported, it is their intention to abolish the State Forests department; and if so, do they intend to take the same precautionary measures to preserve kauri forests from fire, as were so successfully adopted by that department last summer, also whether they intended to take steps to preserve the young forest plantations or to extend them ? He said he asked the question in consequence of a rumour in general circulation that it was the intention of the Government to abolish the department, and because he saw no sum on the Estimates for its maintenance. He hoped the same mistake would not be made now as had occurred on a former occasion, when instead of amending the ant it had been repealed altogether. From the report of the department, and also from the return showingthe result of last year's operations, laid on the table a few days ago, it was evident goed work had been done. The department and its employes were especially to bo congratulated on the fact that while fires were raging through tho kauri bushes owned by private individuals, and also on Crown lands, not one occurred in a State forest. The Minister of Lands, in reply, said he regretted to have to inform the hon. gentleman that it was the intention of the Government to do away with the State Forests department altogether. The same precautions to guard the forests against fire would, however, be continued. With reference to the latter part of the question, he might state that the services of one nurseryman would be retained, but nothing further would be done. A meeting of members who are opposed to the abolition of the State Forests department has been convened, with a view of taking action to induce the Government to stay their hands in this matter.'
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