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Forest growers to elect first board

8 October 2013

Forest growers to elect first board

The Forest Growers Levy Trust, the new organisation representing the interests of all plantation forest owners, large and small, is calling for nominations for its first elected board.

Chair Geoff Thompson says the referendum board of the Trust has applied to associate minister for primary industries Jo Goodhew for a commodity levy on logs and some other plantation forest products. The levy order, which is expected to be issued shortly, will establish a compulsory levy that will apply from 1 January 2014.

“In anticipation of this, elections are being held for the Trust board that will administer the funds raised by the levy. Nominations will be open from 14-31 October, followed by an on-line election for board members from 5-22 November.”

The Trust board will have seven members. Two will be elected by growers with less than 1000 ha of eligible plantation forest, with each grower having one vote. Four will be elected by growers with 1000 ha or more of eligible plantation forest, with voting proportional to their production. The seventh member will be selected by the elected board members.

In March this year a strong majority of forest growers voting in a referendum favoured a compulsory levy to fund activities that benefit all growers, like bio-security, research and health & safety.

The levy rate is 27 c a tonne of harvested wood in the first year. The funds raised, which are expected to total more than $6.5 million a year, will be used to fund a work plan that was put to growers in the referendum.

Mr Thompson says that each year, after consulting with growers, the Trust board will contract out this work to the Forest Owners Association (FOA), Farm Forestry Association (FFA), Scion Research and other relevant organisations.

“The board will not deliver the services itself, but will closely monitor performance against agreed benchmarks and outcomes,” he says.

Full details of the elections, including the process for nominations, as well as other information about the levy, are available at www.forestvoice.org.nz

ENDS

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