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Hodgson Welcomes Forest Industry Research Strategy

The forest industry's new research, science and technology strategy is an encouraging sign of increased commitment to research and innovation in the industry, says Forestry Minister Pete Hodgson — but the proof will lie in the extra research dollars that the industry decides to invest in the coming months.

The industry has developed its strategy following widespread internal debate and consultation with government agencies, especially the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology.

Mr Hodgson said he was pleased to see the industry embracing the idea of partnership with the government in its strategic thinking.

The strategy demands substantial investment in research at three levels:
- "business as usual" research, focused on supporting the industry's current position in areas such as skills, quality control and standards;
- added-value research, focused on enhanced product performance, differentiation or functionality;
- transformational research, focused on creating opportunities outside the industry's existing operations.

Different balances between industry and government funding are proposed for each category, with the industry picking up more of the "business as usual" investment and the Foundation shifting funding away from that area towards transformational research.

"The challenge now for the industry is to back this strategy with some really serious investment in R&D," Mr Hodgson said.

"I am very pleased with the acknowledgement in this strategy that substantial research investment is necessary to ensure New Zealand forestry achieves the maximum added value that knowledge can provide. I look forward to seeing the industry progressively putting its money where its strategy is."

Ends

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