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Moves to stop Indonesian illegal timber imports supported


A group of timber importers have pledged to stop buying any wood from Indonesia unless it is legally sourced.

NZPA
Thu, 14 Apr 2011

A group of timber importers have pledged to stop buying any wood from Indonesia unless it is legally sourced.

Forestry Minister David Carter welcomed the commitment from NZ Imported Tropical Timber Group to bar import and sales of timber from Indonesia unless credible third party verification was provided.

The Green Party also welcomed the move but called for government regulation to ensure compliance for all companies.

The group represented major importers and retailers of imported timber and Greenpeace NZ.

Mr Carter said the move sent a message to overseas companies that illegal logging was unacceptable.

"Illegal logging is a serious problem in the countries where it is carried out, resulting in economic, environmental and social losses," Mr Carter said.

"About 13 percent of sawn timber imports -- about one-quarter of a percent of domestic sawn timber consumption -- come from suspected illegal sources, with kwila from the South East Asia and the Pacific the main species of concern in the New Zealand market."

Green Party forestry spokesperson Catherine Delahunty said the voluntary move was good.

"However, this voluntary measure still leaves room for the sale of illegally harvested timber in New Zealand, and that is unacceptable."

She said 10 to 15 percent of the New Zealand market was not covered by the group.

"Destruction of tropical rainforests is accelerating in part because the demand for timber is leading to unsustainable and often illegal logging."

Illegal logging threatened species, cost livelihoods and added to greenhouse gas emissions.

"New Zealand can take a stand against this environmental and social destruction by refusing the importation of all illegal timber products, but the Government won't get behind ITTG and level the playing field.

"Members of the ITTG should not have to compete with retailers who are willing to sell illegally harvested, environmental and socially damaging timber products."

Other countries had strict rules and Australia was considering tighter regulation, she said.

"It is high time the Government protected the importers who are doing the right thing, by levelling the playing field and prohibiting the importation of all illegal tropical timber," Ms Delahunty said.

Mr Carter said the Government's position was to back voluntary industry initiatives to address illegal logging, rather than regulation.

NZPA
Thu, 14 Apr 2011
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Moves to stop Indonesian illegal timber imports supported
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