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Government should take lead in building proposal

Thursday, 9 March 2006

Copeland: Government should take lead in building proposal

United Future MP Gordon Copeland today welcomed the call for New Zealand to start using more wood in buildings, as a step in the right direction.

Michael Cambridge, of Solid Wood Wall Systems, presented the case as part of a technology clinic at the 2006 Forestry Expo in Rotorua.

The presentation outlined a dozen key advantages of using wood, and in particular, solid wood walls as an alternative to lumber or non-wood materials. Advantages included an increase in the strength, warmth, fire performance and renewability of materials used in construction.

"The evidence from countries such as Germany, that have set a precedent in this area, is that very high environmental standards can be met, while the requisites of comfort, long-term affordability and high building standards are not compromised," said Mr Copeland.

According to Mr Copeland, the reason why United Future supports Mr Cambridge's proposal is that it translates into a win-win situation for New Zealand.

"The Solid Wood Wall initiative would not only benefit consumers but would also boost New Zealand' s flagging forestry sector."

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry figures released by the New Zealand Forest Owners Association show that last year 39 000ha of forest was harvested, while 32 000ha of that was replanted. With just 6 000ha of new land planted over the same period the result was a net loss of 1 000ha.

Forestry is the obvious key to New Zealand's low carbon future, any initiative which encourages forestry will decrease our CO2 emissions and help us meet our obligations under the Kyoto Protocol," said Mr Copeland.

"Forests act as carbon sinks. Carbon sinks build up carbon credits, at the moment New Zealand is well behind in its carbon credit rating, a situation that is costing the Government upwards of $600 million a year."

Mr Copeland believes that this is an area in which the Government should actively take a lead. "As New Zealanders we can all get involved in this, from landowners and home-builders to investors and contractors, the benefits stretch across the board," he said.

ENDS


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