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Repeal Of Forest Regulation A Relief For Cost-struck Growers

Forest owners say the repeal of legislation surrounding log traders and forest advisors will provide relief and assurance to growers facing increased regulatory cost and complexities.

The repeal, announced today by Minister of Forestry Hon Todd McClay, will do away with the compulsory registration required of log traders and forestry advisors under the Forests (Regulation of Log Traders and Forest Advisors) Amendment Act (2020), and refund any fees or levies paid this season.

New Zealand Forest Owners Association chief executive, Dr Elizabeth Heeg, says assurance schemes are important for maintaining integrity throughout the supply chain, but that the introduction of the registration scheme through the Act was an unnecessary and costly intervention for growers.

“The registration scheme was meant to improve information across the forestry and wood processing supply chain, improve professional standards, and build greater confidence in the sector,” Elizabeth says. “Unfortunately, it has achieved the opposite – delivering added cost rather than added value.”

Forest owners and employees required to register ended up paying fees for a system duplicating the work of pre-existing schemes. Those fees were also passed onto small forest owners with smaller revenue streams.

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“Fees were imposed without a sufficient consultation period with forest owners, and the scheme was overbuilt – landing the sector with a costly registration scheme that didn’t deliver.”

Elizabeth says the issue is not about having an agreed standard, it’s about ensuring regulation does not duplicate or undercut the assurance systems, standards or services that are already available.

“Forest owners are very supportive of ensuring a high degree of performance standards across the supply chain and often opt into voluntary schemes to achieve that,” she says. “The New Zealand Institute of Forestry (NZIF) is one such example, maintaining a robust Code of Ethics and strong performance standards that all members who register must follow to ensure they provide the best service.

“Forest owners understand that to be a valued part of rural communities, they must uphold those high professional standards.

“Minister McClay’s decision will restore forest owners’ confidence and ensure continued sector growth without burgeoning regulatory costs.

“We look forward to having further conversations with the Minister on helping forestry achieve its potential domestically and abroad.”

The repeal is said to come into effect by July 2024.

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