Greens MP apologises over swamp kauri claim

Greens MP apologises over swamp kauri claim

A Green MP has apologised to Judith Collins' husband following a press release condemning the extraction of valuable swamp kauri.

In a statement released by the party's conservation spokeswoman Eugenie Sage in June, she called for the illegal export of ancient swamp kauri to stop and for a ministerial inquiry into the practice.

The wood, which can date back to the Ice Age, has been a source of controversy and income, particularly in Northland.

It is illegal to export raw logs, however stumps and finished products can be sent overseas. It had been claimed logs with minimal work including superficial scratches had been exported as finished products.

The Government moved to crack down on the industry in July.

Ms Sage has apologised to Ms Collins' husband David Wong-Tung who is a director of Oravida which owns and exports the product.

"I acknowledge that the press release was capable of conveying meanings that were not intended.  Specifically, I did not mean to suggest that David Wong-Tung and Oravida were involved in the illegal export of swamp kauri or that they influenced the Government or any member of it to turn a blind eye to any such exports."

She says she had "no basis" for making the claim.

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