Indonesia Human Rights Committee
And Rainforest Action, Auckland,
6 June, 2011
Media Release: Tropical Timber Importers urged to ban all kwila imports
The Indonesia Human Rights Group and Rainforest Action commend the New Zealand Imported Tropical Timber Group (NZITTG)
for its recent initiative in setting up a voluntary code of practice concerning illegally logged wood. From September
NZITTG members will only import tropical timber products which have ‘credible third party verification of their legality
This is a step in the right direction, but we now urge the NZITTG to consider an additional ban on all imports of the
tropical hardwood kwila, whether or not is certified ‘legal’.
Most of the kwila coming into this country comes from Indonesian controlled West Papua. It is a species under threat of
extinction within a generation; it is sparse growing and takes up to 80 years to grow to maturity.
The NZITTG code will reduce the amount of kwila being imported, but under the proposed code of practice some kwila may
still be imported to New Zealand.
A certificate of legality does not ensure that the product comes from a sustainably managed forest. Moreover,
Indonesia’s regulatory system is weak and vulnerable to corrupt practices. The authorities are subject to huge pressure
to allow forest clearance for the sake of lucrative palm oil plantations.
In Aotearoa we don’t log kauri to preserve the forests that remain, to be morally consistent we should be just as
respectful of old growth forests in West Papua.
In the last 15 years millions of hectares of West Papua’s old growth forests have been felled – some 25 % of the total
forest area. Military personnel are employed as security for legal and illegal logging operations and indigenous Papuans
have no say over resource extraction.