Call for ban on ivory trade in New Zealand

Long Lunch 13/08/2018
Photo: Getty.

Questions are being raised about New Zealand's role to the ivory trade.

The Jane Goodall Institute believes New Zealand is contributing to the deaths of thousands of elephants and rhinos every year by barely regulating the trade.

According to the current rules, ivory that can be traded is that imported either before a worldwide ban in 1989, or with Department of Conservation permission.

But importers aren't required to provide evidence of an item's age or where it came from.

Ambassador Fiona Gordon told RadioLIVE’s Wendyl Nissen the rules need to be tighter.

"We have a completely unregulated domestic market. If you look at the ivory items that are for sale on any given month within New Zealand, you’ll find that perhaps less than eight percent of them have any information with them about where they came from and when they were imported into New Zealand,” she says.

“We still have some trade into and out of the country of ivory items.”

The Jane Goodall Institute estimates one elephant is killed for its ivory every 15 minutes. Ms Gordon says too many people are unaware of the practise.

"I think people in New Zealand are still quite surprised to hear that we have this domestic market for ivory within New Zealand.

“Over 60 percent of the ivory on New Zealand’s domestic market is a hundred percent ivory – it’s ornaments, tusks, and so on,” Ms Gordon told RadioLIVE.

New Zealand's most popular auction website Trade Me banned all ivory trade in 2014.

Last month an English migrant's antique piano was impounded because it had ivory keys.

Listen to the full interview with Fiona Gordon above.

The Long Lunch with Trudi Nelson, in for Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.