Catherine Delahunty

Topical Tropical Forests

by Catherine Delahunty

Today we are launching an e-card to support my Member’s bill that will regulate the import of illegal and unsustainable tropical timber and wood products. Please send one now to the Prime Minister.

In additional to the e-card, next week we are working with visiting Papuan activists Paula Makabory who is speaking in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch about human rights, mining and forestry issues in her country (which is currently occupied by the Indonesian military and their corporate allies).

Paula and I are also going to visit retailers to congratulate ethical businesses who sell credibly-certificated timber products and to challenge the bad guys to do a whole lot better.

My Bill requires that all imported timber and wood products are certified as legal and sustainable.  Many of these products — from kwila decking and garden furniture to teak ornaments — have some kind of label, but not all labels are credible as research from groups such as Greenpeace has uncovered. I recommend Greenpeace’s Good Wood guide.

Sustainability can be the hardest and most nebulous test on the planet, and that is why we are requiring certification that meets the tests of cultural, ecological and social justice as well as financial sustainability.

Neither Labour or National have yet shown leadership on this issue of national shame, but my bill gives them the opportunity to do something about it. The global illegal timber trade  substantially harms the New Zealand forestry industry — to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars in depressed prices, and costing us jobs and carbon credits at the same time — as well as harming the climate, indigenous people and the biodiversity of the planet.

In the next month we are going to push the Government hard to show some commitment to this issue. To find out more about the campaign go to the Rainforests campaign on our website!