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Minister will give forest industry a greater voice


24 February 2016

Forester says Minister inside cabinet will give forest industry a greater voice

The Forest Owners Association says it’s looking forward to a higher profile in government with the appointment of Hon Louise Upston as holder of the forest portfolio in her role as Associate Minister for Primary Industries.

Ms Upston replaces Jo Goodhew. Jo Goodhew was a minister outside cabinet. Louise Upston is number 20 in the Cabinet.

Forest Owners Association Chair, Peter Clark, says the industry had a good relationship with Jo Goodhew, who he says always put a high priority on the forest and timber processing industry.

“But we were frustrated, as I’m sure she was frustrated, that our issues did not get to be raised in cabinet by a minister directly concerned with forestry,” Peter Clark says.

“We are New Zealand’s number two primary industry, with forest product export returns running ahead of horticulture and meat, as well as being a large domestic industry. I’m sure Ms Upston will appreciate that and remind her colleagues of it.”

“Besides being MP for Taupo, a major forest region, she is also Associate Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, which fits in well for addressing the developing skills and labour shortage in our industry.”

Peter Clark also says it is significant that the new Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett had retained the Climate Change Issues portfolio.

“There is an emerging understanding in the government that more planted trees are the only way New Zealand can fully meet its Paris Agreement climate change commitments. That means we will be having a lot of discussion with the Deputy Prime Minister and de facto Forests Minister over the next year or so about how we might achieve a sufficient growth rate in planted forests and accomplish it profitably for those planting those trees.”

ends

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