The government is looking to regulate the domestic market for elephant ivory as it seeks to strengthen measures to prevent international trade in endangered species.
Ivory objects seized at border by Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) officers. Photo: DOC
Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage today released a discussion document detailing options to amend the Trade in Endangered Species Act 1989.
Ms Sage said the review aimed to guarantee New Zealand was meeting its commitments to ensure this kind of trade “is not detrimental to the survival of species in the wild”.
“There is growing concern worldwide about the role that trade in elephant ivory plays in the poaching and decline of elephant populations.
“New Zealand’s domestic market for ivory is thought to be small but the domestic sale of elephant ivory items is not currently regulated”, she said.
There are only around 400,000 elephants remaining worldwide.
According to the Jane Goodall Institute, which has called for a complete ban on the buying and selling of ivory in New Zealand, an elephant dies every 20 minutes, and the ivory trade played a huge role in their deaths.
Ms Sage said the costs and benefits of stronger regulation was part of the review of the law.
“Options for stronger regulation range from a ban on the domestic sale of elephant ivory in New Zealand, a ban with some exemptions for items such as antiques and musical instruments, to establishing a register of elephant ivory sellers and tracking all elephant ivory items that are sold,” she said.
The review will also look at ways to improve how the Act operates, and make it easier to implement New Zealand’s international obligations.
Public consultation on the discussion document will run until 25 October.