Environment group takes swamp kauri fight to Appeals court

8:41 am on 9 March 2017

A Northland conservation group will go to the Court of Appeal in a bid to stop the export of swamp kauri.

kauri tree

Photo: 123RF

The High Court this month rejected claims by the Northland Environmental Protection Society that the Ministry for Primary Industries was allowing the highly-priced timber to be exported unlawfully.

The Society argued that exporters have been sending slabs and logs of swamp kauri out of the country labelled as table tops and carvings, against the provisions and intent of the Forests Act.

In his decision, Justice Kit Toogood said ancient swamp kauri was an indigenous timber but the primary aim of the act was to protect living indigenous forests.

Justice Toogood found that table tops without legs and carved logs were not illegal exports, even if overseas buyers turned them into something else.

He also rejected the argument that swamp kauri were fossils and therefore protected.

The society's president, Fiona Furrell, said the group was appalled by the decision and had no option but to appeal.

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