The proposed new timber products legislation does not address the critical issues of deforestation and human rights abuses associated with imported products in Aotearoa, says Greenpeace.
The Government’s Forest (Legal Harvest Assurance) Amendment Bill passed its first reading in Parliament last night and focuses on the legal harvesting of timber products exported and imported into Aotearoa New Zealand.
“This Bill completely misses the issue of New Zealand’s responsibility for the destruction of forests and associated human rights abuses. We are in a climate emergency and yet the scope of the Bill concerns only the legality of wood products,” says Greenpeace Forestry. activist Grant Rosoman.
“Deforestation is a critical issue for climate, biodiversity and indigenous peoples’ rights. There are a range of different imported products that are driving deforestation, including chocolate, palm oil, palm kernel (PKE), rubber and coffee, but the bill ignores them,” he says.
The world’s forests are home to millions of indigenous people and their protection is essential in the fight against climate change and as a vital habitat for biodiversity such as orangutans, gorillas, birds of paradise and fungi. Deforestation contributes 10-15% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and between 1990 and 2020 some 420 million hectares of forest have disappeared – an area 15 times larger than Aotearoa.
“We must act quickly to protect forests and indigenous peoples by stopping the importation of deforestation products. The destruction of rainforests may seem far away from us, but our contribution to it is in our homes and communities. products we buy,” says Rosoman.
Greenpeace Aotearoa has called for the phasing out of Palm Kernel Expeller (PKE) due to its links to rainforest destruction as well as the role it plays in supporting the intensive dairy industry.
The European Commission is in the process of finalizing a new law stopping the import of products into the EU originating from deforestation (legal or not), forest degradation and human rights violations. The scope of the law includes wood products, palm oil, cocoa, coffee, soy and beef, and their derivatives.
“The New Zealand government can play a role by passing legislation ensuring that products entering Aotearoa (including products purchased by the government) do not contribute to the loss of Earth’s most valuable forests,” Rosoman said. .
As the Bill was read in Parliament last night, Greenpeace launched a petition calling on the government to stop the importation of products into Aotearoa New Zealand associated with forest destruction and human rights abuses in expanding the scope of the Forest (Legal Harvest Insurance) Amendment Bill. . More than 2,500 people have already signed the petition.
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