Indonesia Human Rights Committee And Rainforest Action, Auckland,
6 June, 2011
The Indonesia Human Rights Group and Rainforest Action commend the New Zealand Imported Tropical Timber Group (NZITTG) for its recent initiative in setting up a voluntary code of practice concerning illegally logged wood. From September NZITTG members will only import tropical timber products which have ‘credible third party verification of their legality of source.’
This is a step in the right direction, but we now urge the NZITTG to consider an additional ban on all imports of the tropical hardwood kwila, whether or not is certified ‘legal’.
Most of the kwila coming into this country comes from Indonesian controlled West Papua. It is a species under threat of extinction within a generation; it is sparse growing and takes up to 80 years to grow to maturity.
The NZITTG code will reduce the amount of kwila being imported, but under the proposed code of practice some kwila may still be imported to New Zealand.
A certificate of legality does not ensure that the product comes from a sustainably managed forest. Moreover, Indonesia’s regulatory system is weak and vulnerable to corrupt practices. The authorities are subject to huge pressure to allow forest clearance for the sake of lucrative palm oil plantations.
In Aotearoa we don’t log kauri to preserve the forests that remain, to be morally consistent we should be just as respectful of old growth forests in West Papua.
In the last 15 years millions of hectares of West Papua’s old growth forests have been felled – some 25 % of the total forest area. Military personnel are employed as security for legal and illegal logging operations and indigenous Papuans have no say over resource extraction.The ITTG is made up of a number of organisations including major retailers Bunnings, Mitre 10, Carters, ITM and Placemakers.