Page:Our New Zealand Cousins.djvu/251

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235
Our New Zealand Cousins.

reformer who would stay the hand of the spoiler, and insist on construction and destruction proceeding simultaneously, is denounced as a dreamer, is hounded down as an obstructive. Vested interests stir up ignorance and fanaticism, and the spoiler has his way. There is no piercing the thick hide of self-interest. You cannot perforate the greedy man's armour.

Now the timber industry of New Zealand is a vast one. Millions of capital must be invested in it, and thousands are dependent on it for their subsistence. There is no need to stop timber-getting. There is no necessity to close a single saw-mill. But surely the plain lessons of experience and the monitions of common sense might be acted on.[1]

If self-interest, or patriotism, or intelligence will not make individuals act, then the general intelligence should be roused to interfere. The State should frame its policy so that indiscriminate havoc should not be made with the forests. Replanting should be insisted on, of acre for acre corresponding to what is annually cut down. Waste should be punished. Strict supervision should be exercised. The classes in the commonwealth, other than those engaged or interested in the timber trade, should have their interests conserved; and forestry, in a word, should be taught and practised, and the industry made subject to the same restrictions in kind, as have been found to be beneficial in India, Germany, and other countries, where public attention has been awakened, and the subject scientifi-

  1. See Appendix I., Professor Kirk's report.