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Corrupt logging company profits from rights abuses

Corrupt logging company profits from human rights abuse and lawlessness in our region Greenpeace report reveals illegal logging

Auckland -- A Greenpeace report exposing the corrupt and destructive activities of the global Malaysian logging company, Rimbunan Hijau, has been published in the lead up to the summit for life on earth--the UN meeting of the Convention for Biological Diversity held in Kuala Lumpur in February.

Rimbunan Hijau (RH) dominates the logging industry in Papua New Guinea and has interests in Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Malaysia, Vanuatu, Indonesia, New Zealand and Russia, making it one of the world’s largest forest destroyers. Many of these operations are characterised by documented illegalities and environmental destruction. It is alleged that RH uses tactics such as political corruption and abuses of local landowner rights within its operations.

Auckland-based company The LumberBank New Zealand Ltd, owned by Rimbunan Hijau subsidiary, Ernslaw One, is importing timber from Rimbunan Hijau’s illegal operations in Papua New Guinea. Greenpeace believes a major part of the 4,600m3 of sawn timber imported into New Zealand in 2003 is from illegal sources.

“In Papua New Guinea, for example, RH is logging without landowner consent, in logging concessions that have not been initiated or allocated properly under the National Forestry Act, and in contravention of environmental law,” said Grant Rosoman of Greenpeace.

Greenpeace is concerned that New Zealand is importing illegal and destructively logged timber from countries where logging is undermining good governance and economic stability .

“It is essential that the New Zealand government moves quickly to impose import restrictions on illegal wood, and takes a strong position in international fora such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and the International Tropical Timber Organisation.” Said Rosoman.

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