17 Apr 2007

Renewed calls for New Zealanders to ensure kwila timber furniture not illegally from Papua

6:54 pm on 17 April 2007

Increasing pressure is being applied on the New Zealand government to ban the import of kwila tropical timber, mostly sourced from the Papua region in Indonesia.

Endangered kwila wood has a dominant place in the New Zealand retail market for outdoor wooden furniture and decking timber.

The Indonesia Human Rights Committee says the New Zealand government is allowing its citizens to be complicit in the destruction of precious native rainforests in Papua.

The IHRC's Maire Leadbetter says the Papua forests are fast disappearing due to rapacious illegal logging and New Zealand's demand for kwila is helping drive the problem.

"It's just absolutely a no-brainer - we must ban it, I think. I am actually hopeful, now that the issues becoming better known, that there's enough pressure on the government for them to do more to ban it. Greenpeace I understand also believes that it should now be listed as an endangered species and I think in that, they might get the support of the Indonesian government. So I think the pressure's definitely building up."

Maire Leadbetter of the Indonesia Human Rights Committee.