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NZ Forestry An Indictment On Past Governments

News Release
July 25, 2003

Anderton Says New Zealand Forestry An Indictment On Past Governments

The Minister of Economic Development, Hon Jim Anderton, said today the state of New Zealand's forestry sector was an indictment on past governments and former industry leaders.

"We have to stop producing logs for sale," he said. "These days, it's all about adding value. Past governments and forest industry leaders should have woken up to this long ago."

Mr Anderton was speaking during a visit to the site of the Waiariki Institute of Technology's School of Forestry and Wood Processing's proposed Centre of Excellence at Waipa, Rotorua.

"I have this recurring nightmare that one day we'll be importing Japanese houses made of (New Zealand) Pinus Radiata - just as we import Japanese cars. It's imperative we think in terms of adding value.

"When you consider that one cubic metre of pine fetches $70 whereas I've recently seen an example of one cubic metre of value-added equipment valued at $700,000 sold by a former forestry company. It's a no-brainer."

Mr Anderton said upgrading the skills of workers was vital so that they were conscious of the need to add value.

"Waiariki's School of Forestry and Wood Processing is playing its part by addressing the industry's training needs. However, this is just one piece of a big jigsaw.

"Twenty eight regions around New Zealand are developing their best resource base and adding value as part of their regional initiatives. The central North Island, which has nominated wood processing as its regional initiative, is one of many initiatives underway nationwide right now. "These are exciting times and New Zealand has a huge future. The real growth will come as regions start introducing second, third and fourth initiatives."

Waiariki's CEO Dr Reynold Macpherson and project director for the National Centre of Excellence, Jeff Weber, welcomed the Minister onto the new site at Waipa. Weber advised that the School of Forestry and Wood Processing was looking to assisting the forest industry nationally with its programmes.

"We will soon be able to offer two diplomas, including a Levels 5 and 6 National Centre Diploma in Wood Processing," said Weber. "These will be aimed at future leaders in wood manufacturing."



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