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Anderton: Timber Industry Forum in Auckland

22 June 2006

Anderton speaks to Timber Industry Forum in Auckland

Jim Anderton said crucial issues were in front of the forestry industry, including the one of processing logs here in New Zealand, at the Industry Forum held by Woodco, at the Ellerslie Events Centre in Auckland.

"I have been to countries like Japan and seen our logs being processed in factories there. Every time I drive past piles of logs sitting in the wharf, I ask why we can't extract more value from those logs here," Jim Anderton said.

"As Minister of Forestry, my aim is to see a majority of our logs processed within New Zealand. This important issue is one of the topics being addressed by the Forest Industry Development Agenda, which has commissioned two important pieces of research over the past six months, looking at strategic issues, opportunities and threats facing the New Zealand forest sector.

"The strategy that will make the greatest impact on the development of our industry is the one that develops higher value uses for our wood products. We need to build from the strengths we have. There is no future trying to be the lowest-cost producer. Some other country will always beat up in a race to the bottom.

"Wood availability in many countries is increasing rapidly – there is no apparent shortage of wood. The domestic market is the most profitable but is relatively small and - more importantly - it's relatively static. We understand the wood qualities of radiata pine very well and because of radiata pine’s versatility, a single wood-processing site can produce multiple products.

"The Labour-Progressive government is working in partnership with the forestry sector by providing a significant financial contribution to improve the economic base of the industry. We have market conditions that demand we move up the value chain. Our young people need jobs and opportunities where they live. We have the natural strength we can build from. The industry knows the Government's got a real stake in making it happen," Jim Anderton said today in Auckland.

ENDS

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