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The Imported Tropical Timber Group On-line

It is standard practice these days. If you want information you go to the web. It is a powerful, informative and accessible source. Try a web search on "New Zealand Imported Tropical Timber Group" or even "ITTG" before now and a surprisingly varied array of sites would still have come up - each with its comment or specific piece of information about the Group.

The launch of the New Zealand Imported Tropical Timber Group website is a timely and welcome development.

ITTG Chair, Malcolm Scott recognises that it is important that people know about the ITTG and who it represents. He observes that the Group has been an active participant, with other domestic forest industry and interest groups, in the Government's recent consultation on illegal logging and timber procurement policies.

The Group will continue to be an important contributor to efforts in ensuring that New Zealand's imported timber trade meets acceptable standards and address the challenges from growing international concern about illegal logging, deforestation and other undesirable practices.

The ITTG is not a newcomer to these issues. The Group was formed in 1991 in response to concern by the New Zealand public, timber trade and conservation NGOs over the link between the import of tropical timbers and unsustainable logging of tropical forests.

The diverse membership includes the New Zealand Timber Importers Association; (representing about 80% of the timber importers); representatives of timber and hardware retailers; furniture manufacturers; non-government environmental and conservation organisations; together with ex-officio government representation.

The Group operates under a Charter of Understanding first agreed in 1994. This was subsequently revised in 2002 and further reviewed and then confirmed in 2004. The Charter set some enduring goals for the Group; including, ensuring that all tropical timber imported into New Zealand is sourced from certified, sustainably managed forests and agreeing on certification procedures that provide purchasers with a reliable assurance of the sourcing of the product from sustainably managed forests. The Charter has been an effective benchmark for the Group and its goals remain highly relevant to the current concerns about timber trade.

The new web-site gives the ITTG a clear and accessible voice on issues that are of concern to the industry and the public. It is up to us to ensure that we use it to best advantage.