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Plant Thieves Get Off Lightly

Media Release
27 February 2004

Plant Thieves Get Off Lightly

“The imposition of $7,500 fines on two Czech men found guilty of trying to smuggle native orchid plants out of New Zealand sends a signal that New Zealand is an easy target to those who think they can break the law regarding native plants and wildlife,” said New Zealand First conservation spokesperson, Edwin Perry.

Yesterday a District Court Judge sent an offender to prison for six weeks for killing endangered native pigeons.

“If these gentlemen could afford to travel here from Europe and drive from one end of the country to the other in a rental car collecting orchids along the way they can well afford to pay their fines,” said Mr Perry.

“One of them is a government environmental protection agency inspector in his own country and could have been expected to know right from wrong as far as stealing native species is concerned.

“They should consider themselves extremely lucky that they are getting off with fines rather than prison sentences,” said Mr Perry.

ENDS

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