The Government’s excuses for allowing the export of swamp kauri as finished products are being bogged down by mounting evidence that rough sawn slabs of kauri timber are being exported illegally, the Green Party said today.
“Evidence is mounting that the Government’s claims that exports are legal because they’re finished products are entirely inaccurate, with rough sawn slabs of kauri timber openly for sale on Chinese, American, and Polish websites,” Green Party conservation spokesperson Eugenie Sage said.
“It’s increasingly clear that the Government is getting stuck in the mud over the allegedly illegal export of swamp kauri.
“Questions need to be asked about why the Government chose to look the other way and whether this has any connection to National MP Judith Collins, whose husband’s company, Oravida, is said to own a stockpile of swamp kauri potentially worth millions of dollars on the export market.
“It looks like the Ministry for Primary Industries may have been wilfully negligent by not upholding the law about swamp kauri exports.
“Is the swamp kauri issue more evidence of Judith Collins’ agitation within the Government and the National Party, playing ministers and MPs off against ministries and private companies?
“Evidence is also mounting of the irreversible damage swamp kauri extraction is doing to Northland’s unique ecosystems, with wetlands and rivers suffering and local communities voicing serious concern.
“Some of this swamp kauri is up to fifty thousand years old and shouldn’t be flogged off overseas for a quick and dirty profit.
“An urgent enquiry is needed to ensure the Forests Act 1949 is being upheld by MPI,” Ms Sage said.