Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Huge bio-fuels opportunity from NZ forestry: Pure Advantage

Huge bio-fuels opportunity for NZ from forestry: Pure Advantage

By Pattrick Smellie

Nov 14 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand's plantation forestry estate represents a major opportunity for New Zealand to become more self-sufficient in transport fuels, says the latest report from the Pure Advantage business lobby group seeking support for a "green growth" push in New Zealand.

However, a "crisis of faith" in the forestry industry could stymie the newly emerging potential of forestry - a sector that has long confounded attempts to add value beyond the export of raw logs, mainly to Asian markets.

Pure Advantage trust chairman Rob Morrison told BusinessDesk the fragile state of the forestry industry is a major issue for realising the largest economic opportunity identified by a study conducted by London economic consultancy Vivid Economics and the Business School at the University of Auckland.

"One of the concerns is faith in the forestry industry," he said. "There are question marks about the forestry industry's capacity to deliver" as a result of stop-start government policies towards forest planting in the last decade.

The report identifies seven areas for action, some of which are partially under way, including mass home insulation and an upgrade to electricity networks to enable energy efficient "smart grids."

The initiative is intended as a catalyst for investment in science and new businesses capable of producing economic growth that also combats climate change.

Its sponsorship by industry figures associated with the Labour Party, including its brainchild Philip Mills of the Les Mills gym franchise, saw the initiative spurned by Ministers as special pleading and subsidy-seeking.

The report from the London-based economic consultancy Vivid Economics and The University of Auckland Business School identifies the opportunity to "create a smart, productive, sustainable forestry industry" among seven big opportunities.

They are:

* retrofitting homes for energy efficiency and warmth to create a healthy environment: under way owing to existing initiatives by both Labour and National-led governments. Some 750,000 homes to go, the report says;
* turning geothermal expertise owned by MightyRiverPower and NZX-listed Contact Energy into a globally valuable resource, as heat from the Earth becomes understood as an electricity generation source. New Zealand is a world leader in geothermal energy;
* investing in sustainable agriculture and efficient agricultural technologies, simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions and making farming more profitable;
* using waste heat and burning waste products to produce low-carbon energy;
* installing a national "smart grid" allowing real-time energy pricing and digital technology to connect. Under way;
* establishing a bio-fuels industry based on woody biomass;
* investing in New Zealand's ecological diversity to create high value eco-tourism and conservation education programmes.

Morrison said "green growth … is the only growth that allows humanity to develop and flourish, reduce poverty and achieve development goals while at the same time protecting natural capital, such as climate stability, without which growth and development will be retarded or reversed."

Pure Advantage sponsors include Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe and Chris Liddell, an expatriate key advisor to the failed US presidential candidate Mitt Romney and a former Carter Holt, Microsoft and General Motors senior manager.

Warehouse founder Stephen Tindall, merino-wear impresario Jeremy Moon of Icebreaker, and Joan Withers, chair of the boards at Auckland International Airport and MightyRiverPower, the state-owned electricity company, are also involved.

Led by Rob Morrison, the investment banker brother of the late Infratil founder Lloyd Morrison, Pure Advantage will now seek senior corporate sponsors to build business cases for action, independent of government involvement, in the seven identified areas.

Among those slated for involvement in the bio-fuels initiative are understood to be science and bio-tech darlings, Auckland-based Lanzatech, the New Zealand-owned transport fuels company, Z Energy, and Scion, the government-owned forestry science research body.

Both Labour and National-led governments have sponsored efforts for more than a decade to secure a special place for New Zealand's plantation forestry as a legitimate way of storing carbon under global carbon market rules.

One of the few wins noted in last December's talks in Durban was New Zealand's successful campaign creating more value for owners of plantation forestry, if and when global carbon prices rise from current low points.

"None of it's greenfields," said Morrison of the report. "It's not about new technologies or silver bullets. It's about what we are currently doing and trying to improve it. Much of it's common sense."


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Banks: Westpac Keeps Core Government Transactions Contract

The local arm of Westpac Banking Corp has kept its contract with the New Zealand government to provide core transactions, but will have to share peripheral services with its rivals. More>>


Science Investment Plan: Universities Welcome Statement

Universities New Zealand has welcomed the National Statement of Science Investment released by the Government today... this is a critical document as it sets out the Government’s ten-year strategic direction that will guide future investment in New Zealand’s science system. More>>


Scouring: Cavalier Merger Would Extract 'Monopoly Rents' - Godfrey Hirst

A merger of Cavalier Wool Holdings and New Zealand Wool Services International's two wool scouring operations would create a monopoly, says carpet maker Godfrey Hirst. The Commerce Commission on Friday released its second draft determination on the merger, maintaining its view that the public benefits would outweigh the loss of competition. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: She Means Business

As Foreman says in her conclusion, this is a business book. It opens with a brief biographical section followed by a collection of interesting tips for entrepreneurs... More>>


Hourly Wage Gap Grows: Gender Pay Gap Still Fixed At Fourteen Percent

“The totally unchanged pay gap is a slap in the face for women, families and the economy,” says Coalition spokesperson, Angela McLeod. Even worse, Māori and Pacific women face an outrageous pay gap of 28% and 33% when compared with the pay packets of Pākehā men. More>>


Housing: English On Housing Affordability And The Economy

"Long lead times in the planning process tend to drive prices higher in the upswing of the housing cycle. And those lead times increase the risk that eight years later, when additional supply arrives, the demand shock that spurred the additional supply has reversed. The resulting excess supply could produce a price crash..." More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news