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Small Victory for New Zealand forestry industry

Small but significant Victory for New Zealand forestry industry

The New Zealand forestry industry has welcomed a small victory in protecting the industry’s international image.

Californian authorities who drafted legislation that severely criticised forest industry practices in New Zealand have now removed the offending references after intervention from the New Zealand government.

New Zealand Forest Industries Council Chief Executive Stephen Jacobi has complimented the Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade for taking up the issue so promptly

The Bill's foreword contained a reference saying “massive destruction of native forests …. has devastated some of the world's most unique and biologically diverse forests..." and cited New Zealand, Chilean and Canadian forests.

Mr Jacobi said the statement was rubbish and New Zealand's sustainable forest management practices are among the highest in the world.

He said exports of forest products are entirely from the country’s plantation estate which has enabled the widespread conservation of the native estate.

“The Government has prohibited the logging of native forest on Government owned land and the limited commercial exploitation of native forests on privately owned land is subject to the strict requirements of the Resource Management Act and the Forests Act,” he said.

Although pleased with the removal of the negative reference in the Californian Bill, the Forest Industries Council is still concerned at California’s proposal for preferential use of Californian produced timber in state funded projects.

“In our view, while the removal of reference to New Zealand is welcome, the Bill still aims to discriminate against imports. We must be vigilant against trade protectionism wherever it occurs,” said Mr Jacobi.

The Forest Industries Council and the New Zealand Government are working together to protest against the trade discrimination inherent in the legislation. The Bill is expected to go before the Assembly in California at the end of August.

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