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Time for forestry to get its act together

Media Statement

For immediate release

Thursday 29 January 2004

Time for forestry to get its act together

United Future forestry spokesperson Gordon Copeland has written to the Minister for Trade Negotiations Jim Sutton and the Minister for Economic Development Jim Anderton renewing calls for New Zealand forest owners to create a ''single desk'' for log exports.

“The concept of a single unbiased desk for the sale of NZ logs overseas has been talked about within the industry for about 20 years!” he says.

‘I believe the point has arrived where heads need to be banged together and if necessary legislation introduced to ensure that it happens.

“I know this will not be easy because of suspicion and mistrust between the various industry players and the odd voice that still claims “this is not the kiwi way – we should be free to do our own thing”. However if it works for dairy, wool, kiwifruit, apples etc why not for logs?

“Log exports have been in the doldrums but there are now signs of an upswing in log prices for the Korean market. However New Zealand remains poorly placed to maximise these opportunities because NZ log traders continue to fight over the markets, frequently undercutting their fellow NZ log exporters so that we lose valuable export dollars, collapse the market, and revert to instability for all concerned.

“It’s simply not good enough. New Zealand will remain a log price taker instead of a log price setter until this issue is sorted out once and for all.

“It is enlightened self interest which has the potential to boost prices and morale to the benefit of the sector and the wider NZ community,” said Mr Copeland.


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