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

Crowdsale And Crowdfunding Campaign: Help Create The Future Of Independent News

Two weeks to go! The Scoop 3.0 plan aims to create NZ’s first community-owned, distributed news and media intelligence ecosystem in 2019. We believe this ScoopPro media monetisation approach can be scaled and spread globally to support local and independent news efforts in regional New Zealand and around the world.

Scoop is an ecosystem, it would not exist without those who contribute to it, read it and rely on it for professional media purposes. Generous past support from this ecosystem has enabled us to come this far in developing our business model. Support our PledgeMe Campaign>>

 

14/11: Two Years’ Progress Since The Kaikoura Earthquake

Mayor John Leggett said it was a day for reflection, but also a time to recognise the work by many people to support progress towards recovery made across Marlborough since November 2016. More>>

ALSO:

Pike River: Mine Drift Re-Entry Plan To Proceed

“I’ve decided the Te Kāhui Whakamana Rua Tekau Mā Iwa - Pike River Recovery Agency, recommended course of action to enter the drift, using the existing access tunnel, is by far the safest option,” said Andrew Little. More>>

ALSO:

Appointments: New High Commissioner To Australia Announced

“Dame Annette King needs no introduction given her long running career as a parliamentarian where she has previously held a number senior Cabinet portfolios, including Justice, Police and Health. She also was Parliament’s longest serving female MP with 30 years’ service,” said Mr Peters. More>>

ALSO:

Two Years Since Kaikoura: Silvia Cartwright To Lead Inquiry Into EQC

“The inquiry will be the first of its kind under the Public Inquiries Act 2013 and will have all the powers of a Royal Commission, be independent of Government and make its report directly to the Governor-General. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Royal Commission Into Child Abuse

Obviously, it is good news that the coalition government has broadened the scope of its Royal Commission into the abuse of children, beyond its previous focus on children in state care. More>>

ALSO:

Cases Delayed: Court Staff Refuse To Handle Sentencing Papers

Dozens of court cases have reportedly been delayed, as court staff escalate industrial action at two Auckland courts by enforcing a ban on handling sentencing papers. More>>

ALSO:

Education: Primary Teachers Rolling Strikes

RNZ Report: More than 100,000 primary school students in Auckland will be home from school today as teachers and principals walk off the job for the second time this year. It's the start of a week of rolling one-day strikes around the country, after the collapse of contract negotiations last Thursday. More>>

ALSO:

"Process Was Sound": Inquiry Into Haumaha Appointment Released

The Inquiry’s purpose was to examine, identify, and report on the adequacy of the process that led to the appointment. It found the process was sound and no available relevant information was omitted. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels