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Illegal Logging – looking at how NZ can help

9 March 2006

Illegal Logging – looking at how New Zealand can help

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) is seeking input on ways New Zealand can contribute to the global fight against illegal logging.

The Ministry has released a discussion document on the issue and wants public and industry feedback on the ideas presented.

Globally, illegal logging and its associated trade costs the producers of legitimately sourced wood products billions of dollars in lost revenue. And it can do considerable harm to forests and forest ecosystems.

Illegal logging takes place when timber is harvested, transported, bought or sold in violation of national and/or international laws. It is a serious problem in many countries where it is undermining local efforts to manage forests sustainably.

MAF Policy Analyst Alison Watson says combating illegal logging is important to New Zealand as the practice taints the entire forestry industry as being environmentally unfriendly. New Zealand also faces competition from illegal timber in its export and domestic markets.

The MAF paper is the first step in developing a New Zealand policy on illegal logging. It provides background on the issue, sets out suggested broad policy goals and actions, and seeks input on where New Zealand action could make the biggest difference.

Ms Watson says the approach taken in the paper is to look at how New Zealand can contribute through a range of different channels – an international focus through global forums and organisations; regional work; bilaterally with other interested countries; and locally through raising awareness of the issue and convincing local sellers and consumers to only use legally sourced product.

“New Zealand may be a small player in the global forestry industry, but for our size, we contribute greatly to the global trade of forest products and to international forums that work to progress sustainable forest management.”

The discussion paper can be found at: www.maf.govt.nz/forestry

ENDS

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