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Not time to laze around on deckchairs

2 November 2006

Not time to laze around on deckchairs

Government must take action against the tide of cheap illegally and unsustainably logged wooden furniture imports that are killing New Zealand's furniture manufacturing industry, the Green Party says.

The latest survey of conditions released by the Canterbury Manufacturers Association yesterday singles out timber furniture manufacturers who, despite improving domestic sales for most manufacturers, are being hurt by these cheap imports, Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

"In the last 14 months four of them have already folded as a result of this illegal competition.

"The imported furniture is being produced with timber, such as kwila, that has come out of illegally and unsustainably logged forests in Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and other places.

"It is so cheap because it is harvested in a completely unsustainable manner from ancient rainforests across the region.

"Not only is this cheapness damaging New Zealand businesses, destruction of these rainforests is a major contributing factor in the increasing rate of global climate change. The practise is also destroying fragile ecosystems and sending vulnerable species to the brink of extinction

"The Government has said that it would do something to restrict these unsustainable imports for many years, yet, as with many other issues of sustainability, all we have is a discussion document.

"Discussion documents don't cut it after seven years of Government," she says.

These imports are adding to global greenhouse emissions, are destroying the habitat of vast numbers of unique plants and animals, and are killing New Zealand's furniture industry.

"It's time to stop lazing on the kwila deckchairs and take some action on this damaging trade."

ENDS

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