June 18, 2015
Swamp kauri illegally traded
The Northland Environmental Protection Society and Far North branch of Forest and Bird have asked the Auditor General to investigate discrepancies in the export of swamp kauri from Northland wetlands.
The logs have been cleared for export because the addition of Maori carvings on the surface is deemed to be their final use, but many have turned up for sale on the Alibaba website at a greatly increase price and suitable for further processing.
Protection society chair Fiona Furrell says years of complaints by environmentalists to the Ministry of Primary Industries and Customs have fallen on deaf ears.
She says the trade has damaged wetlands and destroyed the habitat of endangered birds, lizards and plants including native orchid species.
Northland MP Winston Peters says officials have been duped by exporters, and the fact a kaumatua blessed some of the logs is irrelevant because there is always a kaumatua for sale.
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