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Wood Processing Strategy To Continue

Wood Processing Strategy To Continue

The forestry industry has welcomed the decision by Government and other key stakeholders to extend the highly successful Wood Processing Strategy.

Industry leaders, along with local government and union representatives, met with Ministers Jim Anderton and Jim Sutton on 7 April to review progress to date, and resolved to continue the partnership.

"This is good news, particularly as the industry strives to maintain its competitiveness with the appreciating exchange rate, the uncertain outlook for energy pricing and supply, and a difficult investment climate," said NZ Forest Industries Council chairman Devon McLean.

NZ Forest Owners Association president Peter Berg said the meeting reaffirmed the importance of the forestry industry to the country's overall economic growth.

"Few other sectors can match the forestry industry's capacity to increase output and employment on a sustainable basis," says Mr Berg.

"But the industry will not be able to realise its full potential unless the barriers to expanded investment are cleared away and the industry positions itself aggressively in international markets."

He says the 7 April meeting noted progress in several areas including roading, training, research and biosecurity. It took stock of remaining challenges in areas such as energy, resource management, climate change and international market development.

Mr Berg says priority work in existing areas would continue along with a new focus on New Zealand's competitiveness as a location for wood processing, market access and generic market development.

A working group of industry, government and stakeholder representatives has been established to refine the work programme and review governance structures.

"While industry itself needs to own the vision for the future, central and local government and the unions are essential partners as we set the agenda for future growth," concluded Mr McLean.

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