By Isaac Davison
A Parliamentary committee has backed a complete ban on the international trade of ivory.
The Foreign Affairs select committee was responding to a 4000-signature petition submitted by Auckland teacher Virginia Woolf, which called for Government to take "decisive action" to help save the African elephant from extinction.
The committee's report said it supported this goal, noting that it was already a signatory to the United Nations convention which banned international trade in illegal ivory.
MPs on the committee said UN evidence had indicated that there was "almost no domestic ivory trade in New Zealand".
"The committee recognises, however, that poaching and the illegal trade in ivory is driving the destruction of our largest land mammal as well as funding conflict in Africa.
The report said the demand for ivory needed to stop and achieving this would require pressure from the international community.
"The committee calls on the Government to push for the full implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
"In particular, it should push for the resumption of a full ban on the sale of ivory that was established by the convention in 1989."
Former Prime Minister and Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme Helen Clark welcomed the report, tweeting that it was "good news".