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Government needs to lead on increasing forestry value

The Government needs to provide leadership in the forestry sector so that more value is added to our exports and more jobs are created for New Zealanders, Green Party forestry spokesperson Steffan Browning said today.

The New Zealand Timber Industry Federation today warned that “New Zealand sawmillers are being strangled by continuing log shortages” because raw logs are being sent overseas, rather than processed here.

“The National Government has failed to create value and jobs in the forestry industry,” Mr Browning said.

“In the four years from 2008 to 2012, 3,600 jobs were lost in the wood processing and manufacturing sector.

“Record amounts of wood are being harvested but the increased production is being sent overseas as raw logs without value being added here.

“We need government leadership in forestry to make the investments, in conjunction with iwi and other interests, that will see more of our wood processed and manufactured here in New Zealand before it is exported. That will create well-paying, sustainable jobs.

“We also need to ensure that exporters of raw logs are paying its full environmental and social costs including urgent methyl bromide recapture for log fumigations. When those costs are borne by raw log exporters, the balance will tip more in favour of processing and manufacturing wood products here, rather than sending unprocessed logs overseas,” said Mr Browning.

ENDS

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