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Wood Processing - Top Foreign Exchange Earner

11 April 2001
Wood Processing Could Be Our Top Foreign Exchange Earner

"Forestry and wood processing could go from our third to our top overseas exchange earner if we develop this industry," said Acting Prime Minister Jim Anderton today.

Jim Anderton was speaking after the second meeting of the Wood Processing Industry Steering Group, "Today the Wood Processing Industry Steering Group went through an action plan of what has to be done now, this week, this month, and this year," said Jim Anderton.

"By aiming to process 50 per cent of the harvested trees we could create an additional 2000 jobs in the Gisborne region alone, and increase foreign exchange earnings," said Jim Anderton.

The meeting discussed how to deal with the increase of maturing wood in regions, for example, the East Coast will have a 240 per cent increase in the next five years.

The meeting today included forestry and wood processing companies, manufacturers, local authority and CTU representatives. The meeting was chaired by Jim Anderton with Hon Pete Hodgson, Dover Samuels and John Wright, as well as Government agencies such as the Ministry of Economic Development, the Department of Labour, MAF and the Ministry of Transport in attendance.

"The whole of Government approach of working in co-operation with industry, local authorities and unions is essential to making progress. The government is making the forestry and wood processing industries a priority and will work to target programmes and assistance to unlock the jobs potential from our forests" said Jim Anderton.

"A key issue is getting skilled workers for industry. Options being explored by the Department of Labour include looking at ways of providing incentives to get people off benefits and into training and work," said Jim Anderton.

The first meeting was on 25 January, and the next meeting is scheduled for mid June.


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