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Process For Native Forestry Standards Hijacked

Process For Native Forestry Standards Hijacked

Native forest owners and a range of stakeholders are frustrated and angry at some of New Zealand’s environmental NGOs who continue to obstruct community and industry-based efforts to develop native forest management standards.

“Some of New Zealand’s largest environmental organisations, such as the Royal Forest and Bird Society, have been obstructing the development of internationally recognised forest management standards for our privately-owned, sustainably managed native forests,” forest owner and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) member Roger May said today.

For almost three years, these environmental organisations have been happy to negotiate FSC-based management standards for New Zealand “plantations” while obstructing the parallel process to develop credible FSC standards for sustainably managed “indigenous” forest.

“And while obstructing our efforts to develop standards, these groups have done little to halt the rising tide of timber products imported with no verifiable sustainability credentials, all to the detriment of our own sustainable native forest industry,” he said.

“The hypocrisy of this stance is obvious to all others involved. What’s more, the environmental NGO’s position contradicts their support for and undermines the New Zealand Forest Accord, which all but Greenpeace signed in 1993.”

“New Zealand native timbers are part of our collective cultural heritage, almost as much as the forests themselves are. With wise management and respect we can have both. Even Dr Gerry McSweeney, the President of Royal Forest and Bird, takes pleasure in the West Coast Rimu panelling in his tourist lodge at Arthurs Pass.”

“The Government has a responsibility to provide integration, balance and justice in its trade, industry, conservation and forestry policies instead of being hijacked by environmental NGOs who blindly confuse preservation and conservation and ignore the new understandings and the age-old principles for wise use of our natural resources.”

Mr May said the Government must act now to revise and implement more equitable and integrated policies which control and constrain timber imports from illegal and unsustainable sources, improve the sustainability of our 1.8 million hectare plantation estate while broadening the support for the fledgling industry based on our 1.3 million hectares of privately-owned indigenous forest. “In essence, New Zealand cannot continue with a ‘conservation’ agenda that lays waste to a vital sustainable native forest and timber industry at home in favour of unverified, unsustainable, unregulated or illegal forest practices overseas,” Mr May said.

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