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New Chair For Forest Industries Council

New Chair For Forest Industries Council

Lees Seymour, Managing Director of Weyerhaeuser New Zealand, is the new Chairman of the New Zealand Forest Industries Council (NZFIC). He takes over from outgoing Chairman Devon McLean who held the role for the last five years.

NZFIC represents and promotes the interests of all sectors involved in the New Zealand forest and wood products industry. The Council’s goal is to enhance the international competitiveness of New Zealand's forestry, pulp and paper, remanufacturing, sawmilling, and wood panels sectors.

Mr Seymour, of Ngati Hikairo descent, has wide experience in senior management, marketing, forestry and lumber operations in both New Zealand and Australia, having held previous roles with Weyerhaeuser Australia and CSR Timber products in Australia and Fletcher Challenge Forests and Pan Pac Forest Products in New Zealand.

Mr Seymour paid tribute to the work of his predecessor.

“Devon McLean has been an outstanding leader of the Council during a time of extraordinary development for the industry. He pioneered the Wood Processing Strategy and led the negotiations with the Government for a new partnership seeking to recognise the industry’s contribution to combating climate change. The industry is stronger for his leadership.”

Mr Seymour said his priorities as Chairman would be to use the opportunity of the recently announced Forest Industry Framework Agreement to enhance the industry’s contribution to the country’s economic, environmental and social progress.

“Forestry and wood processing are already the country’s third largest export sector but there is more that can be done to optimise the industry’s contribution to securing New Zealand’s future. Improving the domestic climate for investment in wood processing, securing better market access and positioning New Zealand wood products in key markets are all key goals.”

Mr Seymour also pledged to seek a better funded and more unified industry structure able to articulate its needs more persuasively to Government and the wider community.

“I look forward to working with all sectors of our industry to achieve the vision we have for the industry’s future development,” concluded Mr Seymour.

A brief CV for Mr Seymour is set out below.

Lees Seymour CV

Managing Director of Weyerhaeuser New Zealand Incorporated ( WNZI) since February 2002. WNZI has operations in Nelson and Marlborough. Lees was previously Regional Manager of Weyerhaeuser Australia's Caboolture operations in Queensland where he worked for approximately two and a half years. This business was previously owned by CSR Timber before the Weyerhaeuser acquisition in April 2000. Prior to that Lees was Site Manager at FCF's Taupo sawmill. He joined FCF from Pan Pac where he had been Sawmill Superintendent for 7 years. Lees has a B.Sc. in Forest Science from Canterbury University and a MBA with distinction from Massey University.

About New Zealand Forest Industries Council NZFIC represents and promotes the interests of all sectors involved in the New Zealand forest industry. Membership comprises forestry, wood processing and paper companies as well as industry associations who collectively own, manage and derive products from a sustainable, planted production forest resource of 1.8 million hectares

New Zealand forestry directly employs 23,000 people, accounts for 4 percent of GDP, has annual sales of more than $5 billion and is the country’s third largest export earner at $3.5 billion annually. Through its Wood Processing Strategy and Vision 2025, the industry aims to become New Zealand’s largest export sector, directly employ 60,000 people, contribute 14 percent of GDP and record an annual turnover of $20 billion.

For more information about NZFIC and the forest, wood and paper processing industries in New Zealand visit www.nzfic.org.nz

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