Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Native Plants Stolen From Conservation Areas

27 February 2004

Native Plants Stolen From Conservation Areas

Two Czech men, one of them a government official and the other a University professor, were today convicted and fined in the Manukau District Court for smuggling New Zealand native orchids and taking plants from conservation areas.

The men had illegally collected about 350 specimens of native plants from national parks and other conservation areas in New Zealand.

Mr Jindrich Smitak, an inspector in the Czech Government environmental protection agency, and Mr Cestmir Cihalik, a professor of cardiology from a Czech university, were both fined $7,500. They were also ordered to pay $1000 each toward prosecution costs, and a further amount toward court costs.

The men were charged under the Trade in Endangered Species Act, which prohibits trade in all New Zealand native orchids and can carry penalties of up to a $100,000 fine and five years imprisonment, and the National Parks Act, under which offenders can be fined up to $2500 and imprisoned for three months.

In passing sentence, Judge Sharon McAusian commented that had the Department of Conservation been able to prove the plants were destined for sale and commercial gain, she would have had no hesitation in sending the men to jail.

Department of Conservation investigator Toni Twyford, who took part in the Wildlife Enforcement Group investigation of the case, said the men had collected a considerable number of native plant specimens in the three weeks they were in the country.

"Between them they had 83 individual native orchid plants from 22 species and Mr Smitak had about 37 specimens of other native plants taken from national parks.

"Other specimens, that included native sedges and ferns, were probably collected from a number of conservation areas around the country," he said.

Mr Twyford said it was of concern that a range of native plants, as well as orchids, were being targeted.

It's illegal to take native plant material from conservation land without a permit. Under the Conservation Act individuals can be fined up to $10,000 and be imprisoned for up to 12 months for taking plants from conservation areas.

The public can help stop plant and wildlife smuggling by reporting suspicious activity in national parks and reserves.

Wildlife smuggling is a growing problem worldwide and ranks third in earnings behind narcotics and gun running. Globally the trade is estimated to be about $US7 billion a year.

New Zealand's Wildlife Enforcement Group (WEG), an agency of representatives from Customs, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and DOC, is recognised as a world leader in its 'whole of government' approach to fighting wildlife crime.

WEG was set up 10 years ago to investigate flora and fauna smuggling in and out of New Zealand.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>

ALSO:

Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>

ALSO:

Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>

ALSO:

With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>

ALSO:

Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news