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

 


Lockwood & Co Can’t See Forests For The Trees

With the official APEC meetings starting tomorrow, and today’s release of an industry report assessing the New Zealand Forest Industry’s performance after 15 years of economic reform and deregulation, GATT Watchdog has slammed the Government support for a controversial global trade agreement on forest products, which critics dub “the global free logging agreement”.

Minister for International Trade, Lockwood Smith will release the Forest Research/NZ Forest Industries Council report this afternoon in Wellington.

“After failure to reach consensus within APEC, the proposal to eliminate remaining tariffs on forest products has been shunted off to the WTO. Along with Canada and the US, the Government wants to eliminate tariffs on all forest and paper products by 2000 for “developed” countries and 2003 for “developing” ones, which will increase the production and consumption of wood products. The American Forest and Paper Association, an industry lobby group, says consumption could increase by 3-4% worldwide if tariffs come down,” says GATT Watchdog organiser Aziz Choudry, in Auckland to help organise the APEC Monitoring Group’s Alternatives to The APEC Agenda forum, opposed to APEC.

GATT Watchdog is still awaiting the outcome of an investigation and review by the Ombudsman into the response of government ministries to Official Information Act requests made in April for information on New Zealand’s involvement in pushing for a global free logging agreement at both APEC and the WTO.

“Thanks to New Zealand’s open investment policy, the New Zealand forestry sector is dominated by transnational timber titans like International Paper and Weyerhaeuser which have no loyalty to local communities or workers, respect for the rights of Maori, or the environmental impact of their operations. And they are clearly scared of public debate on the issues.”

“Recent Overseas Investment Commission statistics show that 68% of all land sales to overseas investors between 1991-97 were for forestry purposes. Meanwhile local forestry jobs have continued to be lost, even as both industry and government promise great benefits from increased market access and further trade liberalisation in this sector.”

“The global forestry industry seeks to eliminate restrictions on where, when and how to log so production and profits increase. It wants to open up world markets to forest products so more is sold, and expand an enforceable global framework of rules to protect its rights to profit. As well as tariffs, industry is gunning for non-tariff measures – like import restrictions on forest products that carry invasive pests, log export bans on endangered timber, certifying or eco-labelling schemes.”

Mr Choudry said: “The Chilean Central Bank Natural Accounts Programme estimates that if present forestry practices continue, Chile’s native forests will disappear by 2025. Meanwhile in Malaysia, last year’s APEC host country, over half of the trees felled are for export. Little of the 70-80% forest cover in 1945 Peninsular Malaysia remains today.”

“The global and local timber industry and their allies in government cannot hide behind their PR strategy with empty promises of more jobs and “sustainable logging practices” any longer, especially after the recent Timberlands / Shandwicks fiasco and the ongoing job losses in the sector.”

“This report will just be more free market feelgood hype. The government admits it has no plans to conduct an assessment of the impact of this proposed forest agreement on New Zealand forests or those of the Asia-Pacific region as a whole. It clearly can’t see the forests for the trees!”


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