27 May 2010

Kwila sales protested outside NZ internet trader

1:08 pm on 27 May 2010

Rainforest activists are trying to get a major New Zealand internet site to stop selling furniture made out of kwila wood, or merbau, from West Papua.

A small group of demonstrators has protested outside the Trade Me office in Wellington, urging the owners of the site to ban the sale of kwila furniture.

A spokesperson for the Indonesian Human Rights Committee, Maire Leadbetter, says West Papua is being stripped of its rainforests because of the huge demand for kwila in places like New Zealand.

She says five million hectares are scheduled for deforestation.

Ms Leadbetter is urging New Zealanders to curb their appetite for the popular hardwood.

"What sort of sacrifice is it not to sit on a kwila deck or to have a bbq at a kwila table compared with what is happening to the tropical forests that are really there for all of us. They're the lungs of the world and if we keep destroying them - what are we doing in terms of escalating climate change?"

Marie Leadbetter.

A spokesperson for Trade Me, Paul Ford, says the site won't be banning the sale of kwila furniture.

He says kwila is not illegal and that the activists are the only ones to have complained about the sale of it.