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PQ 7. Conservation Land—Recovery of Wind-blown Timber

7. Conservation Land—Recovery of Wind-blown Timber

[Sitting date: 31 July 2014. Volume:700;Page:8. Text is subject to correction.]

7. CHRIS AUCHINVOLE (National) to the Minister of Conservation : How many expressions of interest have been received for the recovery of wind-blown timber on the West Coast when they closed on Friday 25 July, and how many of these are from West Coast companies?

Hon Dr NICK SMITH (Minister of Conservation): Fourteen applications have been received and I can confirm that 12 of those are West Coast companies. These are for thousands of tonnes of valuable rimu and beech that were felled in the windstorm, albeit it is a small fraction of the total wind-blown timber. The recovery of this wood will provide many jobs on the West Coast over the coming years, providing there is not a change of Government. It will provide the opportunity for New Zealanders to access the beautiful sorts of woods we see in this Chamber, rather than having to import millions of dollars of decorative timbers from overseas.

Chris Auchinvole : What assurances is he able to give that the funding derived from selling the timber will go back to the Department of Conservation?

Hon Dr NICK SMITH : Cabinet ticked off a paper this very week that says that every net dollar that is achieved through this programme will be reinvested back into the Department of Conservation for important work like pest control and improving visitor facilities. All of those things I think New Zealanders will see as a win-win: more jobs, New Zealanders getting access to our beautiful timbers for wood that would otherwise have gone to rot, and more funding for the Department of Conservation to do its crucial work.

Chris Auchinvole : How does this policy fit with National’s approach to regional development and New Zealand creating more jobs in the forestry sector?

Hon Dr NICK SMITH : I think this policy really is quite telling about the differing policies on this side of the House as compared with the opposite. This will provide regional development benefits for the community of the West Coast, not by the Government providing subsidies or grants, but actually just by the Government passing sensible law that will let regions take those economic opportunities. In terms of creating more jobs in the forestry sector, yes, of course it will. It will enable the wood to be processed, and actually there have been expressions of interest from over 20 different furniture manufacturers from all over New Zealand that are wanting to get access to this wind-blown timber.

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