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May – A Real Winner For Forest Industry

May - A Real Winner For The New Zealand Forest Industry

Thursday’s budget capped off a great month for the New Zealand forest industry.

The Forest Industries Council today summarised the recent initiatives - including the budget, progress made by the Wood Processing Strategy steering group, an agreement with environment groups on forest certification, and a trade agreement with China - which have made May a significant month for the industry.

Forest Industries Council Chairman, Devon McLean, said that the Council welcomed the Government’s budget announcements to further stimulate industry innovation and technological development.

“Enhancing research and development efforts is crucial to the success of the forest industry and the regional communities the industry operates in.”

At a meeting in Rotorua on Friday, the Council agreed to an industry research and development strategy that will see greater company funding of generic research underpinning business as usual operations and a significant lift in joint industry and government partnership projects in new processing technology and “blue-sky” transformational research.

“The Forest Industries Council will be appointing a Research and Development Coordinator to develop close relationships with New Zealand and international research providers, manage the industry/government research relationship, and coordinate joint research projects,” Mr McLean said.

“Research driven innovation will transform our industry from a $5 billion sector in 2001 to a $20 billion one in 2025. The forest industry - already New Zealand’s third largest export earner - is on its way to becoming the country’s number one exporter by 2005.

“The industry is growing day by day, creating added-value, high tech products for the local and international market places, and providing high value skills and careers for New Zealanders,” Mr McLean said.

“This month’s announcements and initiatives will all contribute to the benefits that this industry will bring to New Zealand in the future.”

A full summary of May’s achievements follows.

Ends

Forest industry achievements: May 2001

Summary prepared by the Forest Industries Council

- The launch of a national initiative involving industry, Maori, and social and environmental groups, for forest certification, which will lead to international recognition of the sustainable management of New Zealand’s plantation forests by the end of this year.

- The establishment of the New Zealand China Forestry Commission, to address market access and development issues in the world’s largest forest products market.

- Government promotion of a proposal for a mutual recognition arrangement within the Asia Pacific region for building codes and product standards, aiming for acceptance of high value, radiata pine construction materials and systems.

- Initiatives from the Wood Processing Strategy Steering Group, including progress on the following key issues:

- Transport and roading (transport review and needs analysis on the East Coast and in Northland)

- Resource Management Act (research into how it affects the wood processing industry, and the development of best practice guidelines)

- Employment, skills and training (analysis of skills and employment gaps in the central North Island, Bay of Plenty and Gisborne regions)

- Biosecurity (forest industry representation on the Biosecurity Council)


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