The Green Party has pledged in its Forestry Policy today to protect New Zealand’s timber industry from cheap, illegally logged rainforest timber, and reduce New Zealand’s part in the global trade in priceless rainforests.
“Our Forestry Policy shows the way for New Zealand’s forests to become economically and environmentally sustainable,” Green Party Co-Leader Dr Russel Norman says.
“It has been estimated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry that overseas illegal logging might be costing our own forestry industry $266 million a year in lost revenue.
“A ban on the sale and import of illegal timber and wood products, combined with certification of indigenous forest products and Country of Origin Labelling will go a long way to protecting both our industry and workers - and the irreplaceable rainforests of Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.
“However, it is essential to this vision of sustainability that GE trees not be introduced to our markets or ecosystems. There is huge value in being able to claim that our trees are GE free, and the Green Party will help protect the New Zealand environment and economy from GE products.
“Nearly all our forestry is in low value pine species, limiting forestry’s economic potential, and requiring toxic treatment for many uses. Forestry’s future must include diversifying to higher value species, including hardwood natives - which will also support healthier ecosystems and reduce the biosecurity risk from having all our eggs in one basket,” Dr Norman says.
“Wood offers alternatives to energy-hungry concrete and steel in construction. The Green Party will invest in more research and development in added value products like wooden structural elements of buildings. We will also invest in research into sustainable biofuel and wood pellets.
“Our forests are vital carbon sinks and support unique and complex ecosystems. The Green Party’s support of the ETS has added immense value to our forestry industry and will curb deforestation and incentivise tree planting.
“Internationally, we would also work to combat unsustainable logging and rampant deforestation, including re-energising efforts in Climate Change negotiations to engage developing countries in ways to stop deforestation.”