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Govt should keep pledge & axe illegal log imports

Govt should keep pledge and axe illegal log imports

The Green Party is urging the government to immediately ban the importation of illegally logged timber.

This follows recent revelations from Greenpeace that trees cut down without landowner permission in Papua New Guinea are being imported into New Zealand - destroying rainforests and encouraging corruption in that country while undercutting the development of sustainable forestry here.

"Labour should honour its manifesto pledge that they would 'work towards ensuring that only sustainably produced timber is imported into New Zealand'," said Rod Donald, the Green Party's spokesperson on Trade.

"The government's failure to take action to save tropical rainforests in the Pacific contrasts with its successful protection of New Zealand's indigenous forests when it was first elected.

"I recently met with Omanie Sakapeso, a representative of Papuan landowners who is deeply distressed that our government is allowing wood that has been stolen from his family's forest to be imported into New Zealand.

"The current no-questions-asked approach to timber imports is a good example of just how bad 'free' trade can be.

"Cheap, illegally logged timber from overseas has also created unfair competition for our sustainable forestry industry," said Mr Donald.

"If the government is serious about sustainability, then it would also adopt procurement policies that favour Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified sources.

"About 700,000 hectares, or 42 per cent, of New Zealand's plantation forests are FSC-certified, yet Labour has not implemented its other manifesto pledge to 'develop a timber procurement policy aimed at ensuring that timber products used by the NZ government can be verified as coming from sustainable sources'."

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