McKim takes pride in forestry victories

WHILE some might rate a year in which the federal leader of his party and traditional Greens supporters turned against him a rough one for Nick McKim, he doesn't see it that way.

Steering the forestry peace legislation through Parliament angered some in the environment movement, but the protection of half a million hectares of high conservation forests from logging and the extension of the World Heritage area are Mr McKim's major achievements.

``They'd be highlights for any Greens leader any time,'' he said.

As he so often responds to internal disputes, he's ``relaxed'' about the different views, although he admits it would have been better if they were played out behind closed doors.

``You very rarely get 100 per cent agreement on anything in life or in politics and, ultimately, there comes a time in life and politics where you have to do what you think is the right thing and you have to step up and make decisions that you genuinely believe are in the interests of the forests and in the interests of Tasmania.''

Next on the 2013 major achievement list is providing another 12 months of stable minority government.

``One of the knocks of minority government has been that it doesn't go full term,'' he said.

``This government will go full term to the best of my knowledge; that's a solid achievement but more important has been our effectiveness as a government and history will show you that power-sharing governments take on the difficult issues.''

But it's another issue that attracts plenty of critics, including many in the Labor camp, who blame the power-sharing arrangement for the state's economic woes.

Asked why minority government was so unpopular in Tasmania, Mr McKim took a swipe at some of the most prominent critics.

``A lot of thought leaders in the business community prefer majority government because they can go back to special treatment for the business mates of the government of the day.

``I think that's firstly bad economically because what business tells me is they want a level playing field and equal opportunities not special deals for special mates, which is historically what you get in Tasmania under a majority government.'' 

He also maintains there are plenty of Tasmanians who appreciate the more co-operative style of politics. Using almost exactly the same words as he said this time last year, he believes Tasmania is halfway through a 20-year economic transformation.

``We're right at the crux of it now. If we didn't do something to the forest sector which was receiving way too high levels of public subsidy, it would have cruelled the economic transformation of this state.''

He lists digital technology, the creative economy, tourism, renewable energy expertise, fine food, wine and cider, niche agriculture and international education as the way of the future for the state.

``These are the things where Tasmania's future lies. Of course there'll be a mining industry and a forestry industry in Tasmania but we have to get out of an over-relience on those industry sectors because a more diverse economy is a more healthy economy.''

State Parliament has risen for the year, but there has not been the predicted split between the Greens and Labor or at least some more fireworks between the two.

Mr McKim sees no reason to change that until much closer to March.

``There are still things that need to be done in portfolio. As we sit here now, there's simply no need to consider any other form of arrangement. 

``From our point of view we're commited to stability in the lead-up to the 2014 election.''

Either way, the Greens want to cast this election as a choice for voters between the past and the future.

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