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NZITTG Press Release

13 April 2011

Timber Importers and Retailers Only Buy Legal or Better from Indonesia

Auckland: From September 1st 2011 members of the NZ Imported Tropical Timber Group (NZITTG) will only import or sell timber from Indonesia that has credible verification of legality, as a first step towards sustainability.

"This is a huge step towards achieving our goal of ensuring that all tropical timber imported into the country is in time sourced from sustainably managed forests. It's also a great way to celebrate 20 years of the NZITTG," said Malcolm Scott, the Chair of the NZITTG and a timber importer.

"Legality is an important part of sustainability. We have been trying to do the right thing for a long time, and now, urged on by Greenpeace NZ and others, we've taken the commitment to provide our customers with Indonesian timber that is at a minimum verified as being legally sourced."

This is a significant commitment from the NZITTG, whose membership is made up of the major timber importers and retailers in New Zealand1, including Carters, Bunnings, ITM, Mitre 10, Placemakers and also Greenpeace NZ. The timber importers account for over 80% of the importation and sale of tropical timber products in New Zealand.

The move came about due to concerns that some of the timber imported into New Zealand is suspected to be illegally harvested2, meaning that the trees are felled in violation of national laws or that the loggers are extracting more timber than authorised or have obtained their logging concessions illegally. Illegal logging has negative impacts on the community and the environment and leads to the degradation or loss of natural habitats.

Kwila, a timber commonly used for decking and outdoor furniture in NZ, is the major species from allegedly illegal sources. The main source of kwila is Indonesia. Imports of kwila timber in the year ending 31st December 2009 were worth $18.3 million with 94% of this timber coming from Indonesia. While some of this product comes with proof of its legality, some of it does not. In recent times the major retail members of the NZITTG have been changing their procurement policies to eliminate stocking kwila without proof of its legality status.

"None of the importers and retailers in the group want to be buying and selling illegal property or stolen timber - it simply isn't good business. By making this commitment we are putting our reputations on the line in order to do the right thing," concluded Mr Scott.
For more information on the NZITTG and for a provisional list of the agreed credible verification schemes for legality see www.nzittg.org


Contact:

Malcolm Scott Chair - NZITTG
Ph: 027 4938828

Or:

Grant Rosoman Greenpeace NZ
Ph: 021 428 415



1 Members of the NZ Imported Tropical Timber Group are the following: BBi, BBS Timbers, Bunnings; Carters; Furniture Association of NZ, Greenpeace NZ, Gunnersen, Harco, Herman Pacific, ITM, JSC Timber, Mitre 10, Moxon, Placemakers, Rosenfeld Kidson, Simmonds Lumber, Smith City, Timspec.Harkness and Young.

2 http://www.maf.govt.nz/portals/0/documents/forestry/forestry-nz/illegal-log/illegal-logging-policy.pdf