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Gov't on right track with illegal logging policy

15 December 2006

Gov't on right track with illegal logging policy

The Forest Owners Association has endorsed the government's new policy on illegal logging and the trade in products made from wood from illegally logged forests. NZFOA president Peter Berg says New Zealand forest products compete overseas with illegally logged timber from other countries.

In New Zealand, they compete with imported tropical hardwood products such as outdoor furniture and decking which sometimes comes from questionable sources. "This trade not only disadvantages those forest owners around the world who are committed to sustainable forest management, it is also highly unethical," he says.

"A huge toll is being exacted on endangered wildlife, fragile ecosystems and the global environment. Public revulsion at the wholesale clearance of rain forests in Indonesia and Brazil, for example, has tended to reflect unfairly on all forestry everywhere.

"In fact, best-practice forestry as carried out in New Zealand and by many plantation forest owners world-wide, can be highly beneficial to the environment and to rural communities." Forestry minister Jim Anderton says the government's policy is based on six objectives which include championing the issue of illegal logging as a key focus point for international discussion, advocacy and action.

He also says the government is committed to leading by example, by making it mandatory for government departments and agencies to seek timber and wood products that are sourced from legally harvested forests. Mr Berg says consumers can play their part by buying New Zealand produced timber products, looking for Forest Stewardship Certification on imported wooden products to confirm that they have been sustainably produced, or by asking retailers to prove that wooden products are from legally harvested forests. "If in doubt, buy New Zealand wood products," Jim Anderton said.

ENDS

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