Jenny Weber and Peg Putt on their trip to Japan last year (Here)
Huon Valley Environment Centre Campaign to Protect Forests will continue - despite vilification
“Our forest campaigns will continue despite the violent threats and hate language from people in the community who would rather see the destruction of the forests continue,’” Huon Valley Environment Centre’s spokesperson Jenny Weber said.
“Today’s pro logging rally in Huonville continues the abusive campaign backed by the Premier and the logging industry to personally attack individuals who are acting to protect Tasmania’s forests. This small number of people do not represent the vast majority of Australians who want to see our ancient forests protected and Tasmania move to sustainable jobs,“said Ms Weber.
• FORESTRY TASMANIA SECRETLY UNDERMINING IGA
Nick McKim MP
The Tasmanian Greens today said Forestry Tasmania has been exposed as attempting to secretly undermine the Forests Intergovernmental Agreement, with its own half-baked proposal.
Greens Leader Nick McKim MP said reports that the agency is developing a “Plan B” should sound alarm bells for all Tasmanians, because it effectively places a Government authority in direct opposition to an agreement signed by the Premier and Prime Minister.
“The fact the Forestry Tasmania thinks it can effectively write government policy behind the scenes without consulting anyone is a measure of the organisation’s extreme arrogance and hubris,” Mr McKim said.
“This is an unacceptable transgression of Forestry Tasmania’s role, and more proof of why this rogue agency must be scrapped.”
“Forestry Tasmania has been working behind the scenes since day one to undermine the IGA, because it is terrified that the new reality of the forestry industry will consign it to the dustbin of history, where it rightly belongs.”
“The recent URS strategic review (TT: here) made it clear that Forestry Tasmania is no longer viable under its current model,” Mr McKim.
Mr McKim also commented on the Deputy Premier and Opposition Leader’s forthcoming trade mission to Asia.
“The Greens would be prepared to support this trade mission, if it was about promoting an environmentally responsible forest industry that produced the sustainably-harvested timber products that that global markets want.”
“Unfortunately that’s impossible, because Tasmania’s forest industry is not environmentally responsible. It’s based on a broken business model that is wholly reliant on public subsidies to stave off total collapse.”
“Bryan Green and Will Hodgman’s upcoming trip smacks of desperation and may only do more damage to markets. Buyers are smart enough to see through such a flimsy sales pitch.”
“The industry’s problem is very simple. The conservation promises in the Intergovernmental Agreement have not been delivered, and logging continues in high conservation value forests at the same rate that it always has,” Mr McKim said.
SENATOR THE HON RICHARD COLBECK
Senator for Tasmania
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Forestry
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation, Industry and Science
M E D I A R E L E A S E
18 February 2012
Giddings government out of control
“For the Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings to say she has no control over Nick McKim’s travel indicates she has no control over her government” Coalition Forestry Spokesman Senator Richard Colbeck said.
“Nick McKim is Lara Giddings’ Cabinet minister, in her government and is her responsibility.
“Ms Giddings can and should tell him that he is not permitted to travel overseas as a member of her Cabinet or at taxpayer expense.
“In government John Howard approved or denied all overseas travel for his entire ministry and removed access to study entitlement, it is not a new concept.
“If Mr McKim wants to travel overseas, he should do it on his own time and at his own cost.
“Given he has only just returned to work from six weeks leave he must also justify to the Tasmanian taxpayer why he should have more time off.” Senator Colbeck said.
• Sign a petition ...
I just created a petition: Ecobard Productions: Stop destroying Tasmania’s high conservation, old growth forests., because I care deeply about this very important issue.
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Once you’re done, please ask your friends to sign the petition as well. Grassroots movements succeed because people like you are willing to spread the word!
• Premier should apologise: Brown
The outrageous claims by Premier Lara Giddings that environmentalists had been involved in spiking trees in Tasmania should be withdrawn with a clear apology, Greens Leader Bob Brown said in Hobart tonight.
“The environmental movement in Tasmania has been notable for its peaceful protests.
“The Premier’s slander is unbecoming of her office as such a lie has no place in debating Tasmania’s future,” Senator Brown said.
• NZ Herald: Brian Gaynor: Oz deal brings Chandler closer to home
By Brian Gaynor 5:30 AM Saturday Feb 18, 2012
The phones were ringing hot last week after the announcement that Richard Chandler was investing A$150 million ($193 million) in Gunns. Tasmanian journalists were scouring this country for information because Gunns is a Launceston-based forestry company and Chandler is a New Zealander.
But Chandler is virtually unknown in this country even though he is our second wealthiest individual, according to last year’s National Business Review Rich List, with an estimated fortune of $4 billion.
His brother Christopher is in fifth position with an estimated fortune of $1.5 billion.
Where did they make their money? How did the Chandler brothers go from a small Waikato town to become the country’s second and fifth wealthiest individuals?
The story begins in the early 1900s where their Chicago-born grandfather emigrated to New Zealand and went into advertising. He married his secretary and they had three sons.
The three boys fought in World War II but the two eldest boys were killed when their Spitfires were shot down. Robert, the youngest boy, who was a lieutenant on a Royal Navy minesweeper, returned to New Zealand after the war and began working as a beekeeper with Edmund Hillary’s family business.
Robert went on to establish his own beekeeping operation and also built houses and apartments.
In 1955, during a round-the-world trip with some old military comrades, he met Croatian-born Marija, his future wife.
Robert and Marija returned to New Zealand and raised three sons, George, Richard and Christopher. Their home was in Matangi, a small rural town east of Hamilton.
Robert and Marija bought a Hamilton building and in 1972 launched Chandler House, a department store specialising in domestic, European and Asian merchandise.
Meanwhile Richard and Christopher boarded at Auckland Grammar and went on to Auckland University.
Richard developed a passion for the sharemarket and corporate governance and his masters thesis discussed corporate directorship practices.
Chandler sent questionnaires to all NZX-listed companies and to 200 individual directors and concluded that a dangerous rift was growing between ownership and control of companies.
After a brief period in London Richard returned to run the family business, opening another Chandler House store in Auckland, followed by eight more around the country.
However, retailing was far too dull for the Chandler boys and they convinced their parents to sell the 10 enterprises store by store.
Richard, Christopher and their parents then moved to Monaco and the sons formed Sovereign Global Investment in 1986 with start-up capital of $10 million from the sale of the stores.
The Chandler brothers adopted a value-based, contrarian investment style with a strong emphasis on ethics and world class corporate governance practices.
They have thrived whereas none of the 50-plus investment companies listed on the NZX in the mid-1980s has survived, partly because the NZX companies placed little importance on ethics and good corporate governance.
And, Mega-rich NZer still taking risks
By Greg Ansley
5:30 AM Saturday Feb 18, 2012
Last week Richard Chandler, of Matangi, near Hamilton, took another giant bite at a troubled foreign group, following a strategy that has placed him among the 300 or so richest people on the planet.
Ignoring balance sheets dripping red and threats of unrelenting opposition from environmentalists, Green politicians, vineyards, locals and assorted others, Chandler bought a majority shareholding in Tasmanian timber company Gunns.
More, he pledged to complete a pulp mill that has plagued state and federal politics, sparked a national counter-attack against the project’s financial backers, and remains one of the most divisive issues on the island.
But that’s life for Chandler. From Russia to South Korea to Canada, the Richard Chandler Corporation has bounded in as others fled, whacking regulators into line and making huge profits. Gunns, he believes, will be another in the long line of successes.
Chandler, now resident in Singapore, has been one of the silent movers and shakers, rarely speaking to the media while amassing a fortune estimated at about $4 billion from daring investments in new and frequently shaky markets.
In his first - and certainly most revealing - interview, he told Institutional Investor in 2004 that his decisions were motivated by optimism, not fear. Still then in partnership with his brother, Christopher, he told the magazine: “We are great believers in the idea of having audacious goals, breaking out and doing something out of the ordinary.”
The Investor’s international editor, Tom Buerke, described the Chandler brothers as possibly “the world’s most important - if least understood - activists”, responsible in no small way for the opening of the world’s emerging markets.
Within a decade, Buerke wrote, they turned a US$10 million family fortune into a US$5 billion fund by making bold bets in risky markets, becoming among the first portfolio investors in Brazil and the Czech Republic in the early 1990s and waging landmark corporate governance battles in Russia and South Korea.
The brothers went their separate ways in 2007, Christopher forming Legatum and Richard Orient Global, now renamed Richard Chandler Corporation.
Last year Chandler published a paper calling for integrity, transparency and accountability among corporate chiefs and expounded his strategy of removing impediments to raising capital by targeting “unethical managements”.
“The Richard Chandler Corporation believes it has a responsibility to speak the truth, stand up for principles and confront injustice where we encounter it,” the paper said.
“We will act in cases where management’s activities are egregious enough that they hurt our economic interests in the company and regulators are either unable or unwilling to intervene.”
But while promoting ethics, he told Institutional Investor that corporate governance crusades were a by-product, not a driver, of strategy.
“We do have altruistic motives ... But we don’t want to be defined by our corporate governance battles. We are value investors with a sense of responsibility, not activists.”
Even so, he fought a bitter battle in South Korea, where Sovereign had bought 14.8 per cent of oil refiner and telco SK. Its chief executive, Chey Tae-Won, and nine executives were convicted of a US$1.2 billion fraud, but Chey was later released on bail and returned to the business despite an intensive campaign by Sovereign.
Shortly afterwards Sovereign sold out with a five-fold profit, pushing the Chandler brothers ahead of the Todd family to top the National Business Review’s 2005 Rich List.
Elsewhere, Sovereign defied trends and invested in Japan’s deeply troubled banking sector and emerged triumphant, moved into the Indian financial services industry, and, four years ago, returned to recession-plagued Russia to snap up bargains that included Sberbank, the biggest in eastern Europe.
In Canada, Chandler subsidiary Mandolin Fund last year bought itself both opportunity and headaches, acquiring a majority 19.5 per cent holding in Chinese plantation group Sino-Forest, whose share price collapsed on allegations of large-scale fraud, lawsuits and the Ontario Securities Commission’s decision to refer the case to federal police.
And now Chandler is in Tasmania, where Gunns is struggling under financial pain and opposition to a pulp mill approved outside planning processes by former Premier Paul Lennon after an eight-year battle. This continues despite the go-ahead.
While welcomed by both the Labor Government and conservative Opposition, Chandler’s arrival has been condemned by a coalition of opponents.
State Greens forestry spokesman Kim Booth said that far from saving the mill, the Chandler Corporation “has effectively become the new undertaker for Gunns”.
Chandler remains undaunted. Senior adviser Alan Kelly said Chandler Corporation would create 3000 jobs, generate bio-energy, drive exports and hand A$1 billion ($1.2 billion) in revenue to state and federal governments.
“We see its future as building a foundation for sustainable development and economic growth, which will provide a future for the Tasmanian forestry industry.”
It cannot have escaped your notice that the level of bias in Tasmania’s media has been greater than usual this week in respect of matters relating to forestry and the pulp mill. There has been little or no evidence of balanced journalism on display, and the potential for reports to Media Watch about some of the stories and ‘news’ are significant (eg ABC’s Stateline program on 10 February - http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-02-10/woodchip-demand/3824290 )
There are also signs a coordinated campaign by those of a pro-mill, pro-forestry, and who favour a politically Liberal point of view, are receiving preferential treatment by editors of the letters pages. Almost exclusively. The language that some of these scribes is using is also extreme, as one of our number was moved to suggest in a letter written to ABC radio presenter Leon Compton. As this person notes the definition of the term ‘eco-terrorist’ – a phrase that is being used to describe pretty much everyone who disagrees with the way forestry practices are being done, along with everyone who opposes the pulp mill – is peppering both articles and letters to the editor lately.
The assumption being made by the authors of such letters, callers to Talkback, and - by inference - some of the journalists, is that everyone critical of forestry, Gunns and the pulp mill are members or supporters of the Greens.
And the Greens are to blame for the woes of the state, the country – and even the world.
Eco-terrorist is a heavy term. Eco-terrorism is defined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as “the use or threatened use of violence of a criminal nature against people or property by an environmentally oriented, subnational group for environmental-political reasons, or aimed at an audience beyond the target, often of a symbolic nature.”
It’s crucially important that we make as much ‘noise’ as possible between now and April, when the spotlight on Gunns and the mill issue will be hot, bright and sustained, (all those legal cases). Every letter, email, blog comment and call is vital. If you really don’t want this mill built, please consider ensuring your voice is one of thousands that’s fighting to be heard.
• Jenny Webber: Conservationists have been slandered by the Tasmanian Premier who suggests loggers have had their safety threatened for years by tree spiking.
‘Huon Valley Environment Centre absolutely rejects suggestions that tree spiking by conservationists in Tasmania has occurred. The Premier must be held to account and forced to support her claims regarding treespikes with evidence. Those claims must be fully investigated. Otherwise there must be a clear apology,’ Huon Valley Environment Centre’s Jenny Weber said.
‘Huon Valley Environment Centre has never been involved in tree-spiking. In fact it is the forest activists who have continually been the target of violence from the logging industry. Despite enduring death threats, fire bombing and physical assualts from loggers, we have always remained non-violent,’ Jenny Weber said.
‘The ill tempered and slanderous language and accusations levelled by Politicians from the Upper House, Liberal Party, pro-forestry lobbyists and now the premier at critics of the logging industry have the potential for inciting violence in our community. Last night on social networking website Facebook, a pro logging supporter suggested he would like to kill me, the comment has been reported to the police. This the type of behaviour the Premier appears to be inciting. Ms Giddings needs to be asked if this is something she supports,’ Jenny Weber said.
• TREE SPIKING ALLEGATIONS INCITING COMMUNITY UNREST
Kim Booth MP
Greens Forestry Spokesperson
The Tasmanian Greens today condemned the Premier Lara Giddings’ outrageous and inflammatory accusations that Tasmanian conservationists had been involved in tree spiking.
Green Forestry spokesperson Kim Booth MP said that if the Premier has evidence of tree spiking, as she claims to, then she should immediately refer it to the police.
“If the Premier is going to point the finger over this type of activity then she will need some very strong evidence to back her claims, because all she has done is fuel hysteria and anger in the community,” Mr Booth said.
“As Acting Attorney General, Ms Giddings should know better than to breach the presumption of innocence that every Tasmanian has the right to.”
“This is tantamount to encouraging vigilantism, and raises questions about the Premier’s maturity and capacity as a leader.”
“If she cannot find any proof to back her claims she must apologise immediately and unreservedly, and call for calm.”
“There has never been any proof of tree spiking in Tasmania, and as a long-time saw miller before entering Parliament, I never once heard of this happening in Tasmania.”
Mr Booth also commented on reports that Forestry Tasmania is secretly developing its own half-baked “Plan B” for the forest industry.
“If the reports are correct that Forestry Tasmania has already discussed its plan with the State and Federal Governments then this then it is an extremely serious betrayal of the Tasmanian community and the IGA process,” Mr Booth said.
“Forestry Tasmania seems to think it can go off on its own and write government policy behind the scenes.”
“This breathtaking arrogance from Forestry Tasmania, a rogue agency that has outlived its worth and lived off the public purse for years,” Mr Booth said.
“Forestry Tasmania has already received $11.5 million from the IGA, a large portion of which was a financial settlement to retire the selling rights to the Gunns quota.”
“If they’re not prepared to cooperate with agreement, they should immediately repay that money and Minister Green must step in and get them under control,” Mr Booth said.
• Premier’s baseless vilification of fellow Tasmanians
Premier Lara Giddings claims she has seen tree spikes used by environmentalists.
It is a crass return to the Lennon era of fake vilification of environmentally-aware Tasmanians, Australian Greens Leader Senator Bob Brown said in Hobart today.
“We must all expect better of premiers, especially when, in the same breath, she’s calling for an end to division.
“For decades, whenever the logging supremos get angry, tree spikes or bombs are brought on to the agenda – it’s a very tawdry ploy,” Senator Brown said.
• Miranda Gibson, SWST: Still Wild Still Threatened calls for public apology from the Premier
Still Wild Still Threatened calls on Premier Lara Giddings to make a public apology for her misleading comments about environmentalists.
“The Premier’s attacks on environmentalists is getting out of control and she exacerbating communtiy conflict through unsubstantiated claims” said Miranda Gibson, spokesperson for Still Wild Still Threatened. “Still Wild Still Threatened rejects the Premiers accusations. Conservationists from Still Wild Still Threatened have never used tree spiking tactics.”
‘“Premier Giddings is continuing to misdirect community anger towards environmental groups when it is the poor management and business decisions made by both Ta Ann and Forestry Tasmania that have led to the current crisis” said Ms Gibson.
“Still Wild Still Threatened and the Huon Valley Environment Center are committed to non-violence. Yet, conservationist are bearing the brunt of violent threats. The Premier should be publicly condemning the threats that have been made against Jenny Weber and the Huon Valley Environment Center” said Ms Gibson.
“Still Wild Still Threatened supports the work of the Huon Valley Environment Center, The Last Stand and Markets for Change. The fact that conservationists are exposing the truth about Ta Ann’s operations does not make the environment movement responsible for the crisis of an industry that has been operating on lies and misinformation ” said Ms Gibson.