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Ban illegally logged timber

1 September 2005

Ban illegally logged timber and protect local manufacturing

The Green Party wants a ban on the import of illegally logged timber to protect native forests in third world countries and keep local businesses working, in the third Green Solution announced this afternoon.

"We have a responsibility not just for the chainsaws we hold but for the products we buy," Green Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says. "A ban on illegally logged timber would send the message that New Zealand is opposed to environmental destruction wherever it happens, and in the process we'd benefit local manufacturers trying to do the right thing.

"In the past month, two New Zealand furniture factories in the South Island town of Waimate have shut up shop, blaming cheap imports many made from illegally-logged timber.

"We have protected the last of New Zealand's publicly owned forests from logging. Now we have to stop destroying the forests of the third world through our consumption. Forests in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Malaysia are being ripped off by illegal logging operations that provide no benefit at all to the host country, destroy their forest and ignore the rights of indigenous people.

"This timber and furniture is being imported to New Zealand and is undercutting our sustainably produced timber and furniture makers who are trying to use sustainable products."

The timber ban is the third in a series of Green Solutions that the Greens are unveiling during the election campaign.

The Green Party wants an immediate ban on imports of all illegally logged timber and products made from it, and would phase in a requirement for all timber and timber products to come from certified sustainably managed forests, Ms Fitzsimons says.

"The Indonesian government has asked for help. 90 percent of the logging of its forests is illegal. If there is no market for this illegally logged timber, the environmental destruction will stop.

"New Zealand imports about 12,000 cubic metres of sawn hardwoods and around $100 million worth of furniture and componentry. Much of this timber is illegal and unsustainable. While such timber has been hard to track in the past, it is now becoming easier. Chain of custody tracking now exists for timber: furniture is just one more step."

ENDS

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