11 Aug 2010

NZ Government isn't planning to ban illegally sourced timber imports

8:58 pm on 11 August 2010

The New Zealand Government isn't planning to legislate against importing illegally sourced timber within the next 18 months.

Australia's Labor Government says, if re-elected later this month, it'll make it an offence to import any illegally harvested wood including Papuan hardwood such as kwila.

Environmental groups and timber organisations in New Zealand, including Greenpeace and the Forest Owners Association, have called for New Zealand's Government to do the same.

But the Agriculture and Forestry Minister, David Carter, says the Government's trialing a voluntary labelling scheme with the the timber industry instead, which encourages companies to verify the legality of their products.

"At this stage Government's determined they'll try a voluntary approach. If that doesn't work, then one of the options the Government could then look at is whether we ban the importation of these tropical timbers in totality."

David Carter says the Government will wait for the trial to conclude in 18 months time, before looking at other options.