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Forest Industries Council to Pass Baton to Woodco

1 July 2005

Forest Industries Council to Pass Baton to "Woodco"

The New Zealand Forest Industries Council is preparing to pass the baton of industry representation to a new umbrella body.

A new organisation representing the forest and wood processing industries is expected to be up and running by the end of September.

NZFIC Chairman Lees Seymour said that to assist this process the Council had adopted a timetable for its own dis-establishment. Work was underway to achieve the transition to the new organisation - provisionally called Woodco.

"The forest industry has undergone some major structural change in recent times. This move is about ensuring the industry is organised in a way that allows it to be proactive in addressing key strategic issues affecting its future," Mr Seymour said.

Woodco will operate as an "association of associations". As such, it will be owned by sectoral organisations including forest owners, farm foresters, forest contractors, wood processors and manufacturers. It will not be open to individual company memberships as NZFIC currently is.

Mr Seymour said the Forest Industries Council had represented and promoted the collective interests of the forest, wood and paper industry for the past 15 years. While FIC's membership includes several of the larger companies and most sector associations, a wider coalition was now required to generate real momentum on pan-industry issues like influencing the domestic policy agenda, contributing actively to international trade negotiations and communicating the value of the industry and its products.

"The forest and wood processing industries directly employ 26,000 people and account for just under 4 percent of GDP - this contribution should grow significantly over coming years. But to achieve this growth we need a more cohesive and cross industry approach to strategic issues.

"The FIC Board supports this new representational structure. While for some time now FIC has effectively promoted the industry both at home and overseas, this needs a more united and better resourced effort", Mr Seymour said.

The timetable adopted by the Board would see FIC wound up by 30 September. This coincides with the conclusion of the current CEO's contract.

"Our CEO, Stephen Jacobi, has led the organisation for the last three years and has done a sterling job. While he now wishes to explore other opportunities, we hope the industry can continue to make use of his considerable skills and expertise, particularly in the area of international trade", Mr Seymour said.

In the next three months the FIC Board would monitor and actively assist the establishment of Woodco. The final decision to dis-establish the current structure would be taken at a meeting of the FIC membership at the end of August. Stakeholders will be contacted during this period to explain the changes underway.

"The Forest Industry Development Agenda (FIDA), concluded in April, will see the Government and industry investing $23 million over the next five years to develop the industry. That's something we need to make the most of and I am confident that Woodco will have the broad base of support required to achieve this."

About Forestry

NZFIC represents and promotes the interests of all sectors involved in the New Zealand forest and wood processing industry. Membership comprises forestry companies and industry associations who collectively own, manage and process wood and paper products from a sustainable, planted production forest resource of 1.8 million hectares.

New Zealand forestry directly employs 26,000 people, accounts for just under 4 percent of GDP, has annual sales of more than $5 billion and is the country's third largest export earner at $3.5 billion annually. Through its Vision 2025, the industry aims to become New Zealand's largest export sector, directly employ 60,000 people, contribute 14 percent of GDP and record an annual turnover of $20 billion.

ENDS


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