28 Jan 2010

Timber labelling move reversed

12:37 pm on 28 January 2010

The Government has decided to go back on moves towards a mandatory timber labelling scheme, aimed at showing whether tropical wood was legally harvested.

It's estimated 13% of tropical timber such as Indonesian Kwila, mahogany and teak coming into New Zealand is from illegal sources.

In 2008 the previous Labour-led Government announced timbers would have to show by this year whether they were legally harvested.

It has emerged that the National Government decided in December it would change back to a voluntary labelling system.

Forestry Minister David Carter says the Tropical Timber Importing Group has convinced him a softer approach can work for now.

Green Party forestry spokesperson Catherine Delahunty says the change will undermine the efforts of good retailers who have begun showing the source of their products.

Ms Delahunty says the Government is going soft on illegal timber because it does not want to upset Asian trading partners like Indonesia and China.