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Greens: Forestry Meeting Needs To Address Illegal Timber

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Forestry industry representatives can use their conference this week to call on the Government to regulate to stop the trade of illegally logged rainforest timber, said the Green Party today.

Prime Minister John Key will open the ForestWood 2010 Conference at 9am tomorrow at Te Papa.

"New Zealand foresters lose $270 million per year because of illegal and unsustainable logging of endangered rainforest timber," said Green Party forestry spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.

"This illegal trade costs this country in jobs and also destroys indigenous communities, endangered species and exacerbates climate change."

Many other countries have already regulated against endangered and illegally harvested rainforest timber, including the USA and the European Union.

The new Government in Australia made an election promise to ban the importation of illegally logged timber.

"In New Zealand we only have voluntary guidelines and one true robust certification process, which is run by the Forestry Stewardship Council.

"The Government can significantly improve the scrutiny of timber entering the country, which would help businesses who don't have the resources to monitor the source of the timber they are selling."

Last week, Trade Me announced changes to their rules that would only allow the sale of certified new kwila, an endangered timber that makes up an estimated 80 per cent of illegally logged timber entering the country.

"The Green Party is delighted that Trade Me has stepped up to the challenge, and hopes the Government will assist ethical companies and our own forestry industry by regulating this destructive trade," said Ms Delahunty.

Ms Delahunty and an endangered orangutan will launch a petition to stop the import and trade of illegally and unsustainably logged rainforest timber outside the ForestWood Conference tomorrow at 8am.

"We have had strong support from the Forests Owners Association and other forest product importers and retailers, and are confident they will support the petition.

"The petition calls for the Parliament to legislate to prevent the import and domestic trade of illegally and unsustainably harvested timber and wood products.

"The Prime Minister and the Minister of Forests are both speaking at the Conference tomorrow, and we challenge them to support New Zealand forestry and the rainforests by taking action," said Ms Delahunty.

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