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NZ courts uphold RH ban: Welcome news for PNG

14th December 2004
Media Release

NZ courts uphold RH ban: Welcome news for PNG

The Eco-Forestry Forum has welcomed the decision by the High Court in New Zealand to uphold a ban on a Rimbunan Hijau subsidiary company for allegedly importing illegally logged timber from PNG.

“Illegal and destructively harvested timber cheats landowners, punishes our economy and deprives future generations” says Kenn Mondiai Chair of the Forum.

”While the Forest Minister continues to deny that we have a problem, the international community is turning its back on the practices of the Malaysian dominated logging industry in PNG”.

The NZ High Court has this week rejected an appeal by Rimbunan Hijau subsidiary, The LumberBank (TLB), against its expulsion from the NZ Timber Importers Association (NZTIA) for importing what it describes as ‘illegally logged timber from PNG’.

TLB was ordered to pay all the costs of its failed court action.

The NZTIA controls about 80% of tropical timber imports into New Zealand and has an alliance with all the biggest NZ timber retailers. Association members are happy to continue to import timber from small and medium scale certified timber producers in PNG, but will not deal in illegal and unsustainable timber produced by large logging companies.

“This decision from NZ and that of the Australian government to ban illegal and unsustainable timber imports, make clear that the international community will no longer accept the current logging practices of large multi national companies in PNG”, says Kenn Mondiai.

The Eco-Forestry Forum is urging the government to enforce existing laws and regulations to close down the logging industry and to instead support small and medium scale producers.

The Forum believes that a vibrant eco-forestry sector can provide more and better local jobs and skills training and will promote value-adding through down stream processing and manufacturing. Such activities also protect the forest environment and allow for long-term forest management.

“The government must stop defending foreign companies and instead promote local forest management that benefits the people of PNG”, says the Forum.

ENDS

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