In This Edition: A Flawed Press Release – Tiimbeeer!!!
A Flawed Press
I was studying Mr English's proposed plans for an Unknown Soldier memorial, and couldn't help noticing that he quoted from the Bible. Not only did the Nats get the name of the book wrong (it's Ecclesiastes, not Ecclesiasticus), but also there is no chapter 44, verse 7, in that book. It only goes up to 12. I've reviewed the King James, New International and American Standard bibles, and can't find that quote anywhere. I enjoy Scoop and its content, but perhaps you should make sure - in the case of elementary facts like a bible quote - that your contributors get it right.
The timber business in New Zealand is "frantic", boosted by a recovery in building work and "plenty of business from Asia, particularly China" (24 April).
Great for the timber industry and the New Zealand economy, but it comes with a sting.
China's forests once covered some 776,000 square kilometres whereas only 214,000 remain.
As an indirect result of this deforestation, 300 of China's 617 cities now face water shortages and the Yellow River, which first dried up before reaching the sea in 1972, has dried up every year since 1985.
China has imposed a logging ban since 1998 in an endeavour to protect its remaining resource and environment.
As a result, it now imports around 15 million cubic metres of timber a year compared with 4 million prior to the ban.
Where does all this timber come from?
Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, The Gabon, Siberia, Burma, Tibet (before China stripped the resource from around 221,880 square kilometres in 1949 to 134,000 kilometres by 1985) and, or course, New Zealand.
Many of those countries forests form a crucial part of the globes ecological engine-room, yet it is they that are now being excessively logged with much of it being done on the black market to satisfy the insatiable demands of a booming industrial economy in China.
There is something very untoward here.
China logs itself almost to extinction. Then it puts the dollar carrot in front of other economically strapped countries to supply it cheap (and it is cheap) raw material for the purpose of manufacturing and exporting expensive value added products to third countries such as the United States, Europe and elsewhere.
While New Zealand can probably afford to continue this economic and ecological stupidity (the bulk of its timber and lumber exports are made up of quickly regenerative softwood such as radiata pine) most of the other countries are exporting native hardwoods while undertaking little or no reforestation.
These trees are not only slow to regenerate but, in most cases, form the very basis of the world's rain forests.
Having shot itself in the foot domestically, China is now in the throws of imposing its insidious economic might on others. An imposition that, despite the wealth it may derive from its value added products, will not protect it, or the world, from the creeping devastation and global ecological mayhem this activity is causing,
There is not a lot for the Timber Industry Federation to be pleased or complacent about in all this. They are not making what they could by selling a value-added product rather than the raw material. They are encouraging greater industrial growth in a country already struggling with serious environmental issues (five of the world's 10 most polluted cities are in China and the pollutant levels are reported to be 2-5 times above the World Health Organisation's recommend levels.
We would all do well to reflect on the words of the late Sir Peter Blake, "The quality of water and the quality of life in all its infinite forms are critical parts of the overall, ongoing health of this planet of ours".