Minister back tracks on swamp kauri – but it’s not enough

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy has been forced to back track on his statements that everything was fine and dandy with the export of swamp kauri, the Green Party said today.

Mr Guy has announced a range of measures to tighten up the extraction and export of ancient swamp kauri from wetlands in Northland, which he formerly assured New Zealanders was managed “very, very closely”.

“Pressure from the Green Party and environmental groups has forced Mr Guy to bring in measures that should see every extraction site inspected by MPI and notified to the Northland Regional Council, regardless of where they are situated and whether or not they need a resource consent,” said Green Party primary industries spokesperson Eugenie Sage.

“This is welcome news, but hadn’t Mr Guy already told us we had nothing to worry about?

“Mr Guy has been well aware since we and environmental organisations started to bring the issue to light, that the industry was taking advantage of loopholes in the council’s Water and Soil Plan, and letting kauri that is tens of thousands of years old be exported illegally and sold off overseas.

“What we need is a full and thorough independent investigation into the extraction and export of ancient swamp kauri, which has so far seen wetlands and a precious taonga destroyed.

“There are only a finite number of these ancient logs in Northland and once they are mined and exported, they are gone forever.”