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Bill would benefit our economy and world climate

18 November 2009

Bill would benefit our economy and world climate

A Bill regulating the import of illegal and unsustainable tropical timber could benefit New Zealand forestry to the tune of $270 million per year as well as help save the rainforests, Green MP Catherine Delahunty said today.

The Customs and Excise (Sustainable Forestry) Amendment Bill will have its first reading in Parliament today, and will be supported by Labour and the Maori Party. The Bill would prohibit the import into New Zealand of timber and wood products produced illegally and unsustainably.

“If passed, my Bill would boost New Zealand’s own sustainable forestry industry by limiting competition from illegal overseas timber producers. It would also help to protect our climate, biodiversity, and the 60 million indigenous people worldwide who depend on the rainforest,” Ms Delahunty said.

“I know John Key is well aware of these issues because of all the e-cards that have been sent to him in support of this Bill. I am urging his Government to vote in favour of protecting kiwi jobs and the world’s rainforests when the Bill comes up today.”

In the months since the Bill was pulled from the ballot nearly 500 people have used the Green Party website to write to Prime Minister John Key urging him to support the Bill.

Ms Delahunty has also visited timber retailers throughout the country to congratulate those which already purchase only sustainable timber, and urge others to do the same.

“It’s great that it’s getting easier for consumers to make informed choices to purchase only sustainable timber products like outdoor furniture, decking, and barbeques, but it’s vital that the consumer campaign is matched by regulation to support our own foresters,” Ms Delahunty said.

“It is also essential to protect the world’s climate, biodiversity and the lives and livelihoods of those who depend on the rainforest. In countries like West Papua, illegal loggers are attacking the rainforest but also using violence against local indigenous communities who resist their efforts.

“After the rainforest is cleared, it is replaced by the vast palm plantations which have become the scourge of the region. Plant, animal, and insect species are made extinct daily by the logging of timber such as Kwila.

“Voluntary codes have not worked and consumers find the certification on offer hard to verify. My Bill demands that the certification must be gold standard and totally robust as in schemes such as Forest Stewardship Certification so that our Customs staff can easily identify it at the border.”


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