As of April first, 130,000 hectares of rainforests have been added to New Zealand's National Parks and conservation reserves, thanks to the the unravelling and demise of a devious pro-logging PR campaign run by a government-owned company, Timberlands, and its PR adviser, Shandwick New Zealand. In 1999 a whistleblower leaked hundreds of pages of internal Shandwick documents which formed the basis for the shocking exposé Secrets and Lies: The Anatomy of an Anti-Environmental PR Campaign by Nicky Hager and Bob Burton. The book's surprise release discredited Timberlands and undermined New Zealand's Prime Minister who subsequently lost the November 1999 election to the Labor Party. Last week new Prime Minister Helen Clark announced that all the rainforests formerly under Timberlands control would be transferred to the Department of Conservation. "I want to pay tribute to the dedicated conservationists who campaigned for many years for the protection of these forests," Clark said. Thanks also to a courageous whistleblower who blew the lid off the Timberlands and Shandwick PR campaign, and to fearless investigative journalists Nicky Hager and Bob Burton who made the story a best-selling book in New Zealand.
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