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Beehive Blunder Exposes Flaw In Environment Policy

Beehive Blunder Exposes Flaw In Govt Environmental Policy

"The Government has egg all over its face and only has itself to blame", National's Conservation spokesperson Nick Smith said, following today's decision to remove the imported tropical African timber from the refurbished Beehive.

"This problem arose because of the Government's flawed environmental policy, focussed on native timber rather than sustainably produced timber. National warned the Government last year when it shut down West Coast Timberlands sustainable forestry that it would lead to more unsustainably produced timbers being imported.

"The Government is attempting to avoid responsibility and blame the architects and officials by quoting its Cabinet prohibition on native timbers being used. African timber is not native to New Zealand. All timbers would be eliminated if the Cabinet minute was interpreted this way because all timbers are native to some country. This fiasco should force the Government to rethink its policy, so it bans 'unsustainable' rather than 'native' timber," Dr Smith said.

Dr Smith disputed Speaker Jonathan Hunt's claims in news reports that 'on floors 4 to 10 nothing had been decided', and in reference to the sustainably produced New Zealand Tawa 'the supplier had refused to divulge the actual sum of his timber and was twice the price of African wood'.

"The architects specification dated November 2000 specifies 'English Tawa', the trade name for the African Anegre, be installed in Ministers' suites on floors 4 to 7, and in corridors on floors 8 to 10. The supplier of New Zealand sustainably managed Tawa has a Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Sustainable Forest Management Permit. A quote, dated 21st February 2001, to the main contractor for New Zealand Tawa at $91.90 per sheet as compared to $78.70 per sheet, shows a difference of only $13.20 per sheet, or $11,880 over the whole project.

"The Government must rescind its flawed Cabinet decision that prohibits sustainably harvested New Zealand native timber being used in the Beehive refurbishment. The Government should then complete the Beehive with the marginally more expensive certified New Zealand Tawa, " Dr Smith said.

Ends


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