16 Aug 2010

Foresters challenge government over illegal imports

12:55 pm on 16 August 2010

The Forest Owners Association wants the Government to change its hands-off approach to illegal wood imports by taking measures to curb the trade in this country.

The Association says illegal logging and deforestation, especially in tropical regions, are among the biggest contributors to climate change and the loss of biodiversity.

It has criticised the Government for refusing to support moves requiring imports of timber and wood products to be certified to show they come from legal and sustainable harvesting.

Association president Peter Berg says the organisation is resurrecting its concerns about the commercial and environmental impacts of illegal logging because it's been raised as an election issue in Australia.

He says the pledge by the Labor government in Australia to implement significant measures to curb illegal imports if re-elected is something he would like to see taken on board in New Zealand.

Mr Berg says foresters in New Zealand have to meet high sustainability standards and the same should apply to imported timber products.

He says the United States and a growing number of European and other countries also have rules to curb the illegal wood trade.