TV gardeners line up as rivals

Gardening personality Don Burke has been hired by timber company Gunns to help win support for its northern Tasmanian pulp mill.

The move pits Burke against former ABC TV gardening identity Peter Cundall, who has been a vocal critic of the controversial project.

The $2 billion proposal has stalled as tighter credit conditions force Gunns to look overseas for funds.

Burke has told ABC Local Radio he does not feel his role as an adviser to the company compromises his integrity.

“The majority of the people on the planet have a job but that doesn’t mean their integrity is purchased by their employer,” he said.

“I would have thought my track record stands out pretty clearly; that nobody buys my integrity.”

Burke says he has received assurances from Gunns’s chairman John Gay that the role will be independent of the company.

“So I’ve got access to the entire company. He asked me to monitor what’s going on, and work in the best interests as a green person,” he said.

“At no state has he hinted that there would be anything other than objectivity.”

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