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Cosgrove Speech To Opening Of Lignus Timber XChnge




Distinguished guests ladies and gentlemen.

It is indeed and honour to be with you today to launch the first negotiation based exchange for forest products, outside North America, the Lignus Timber Exchange.

First I want to pay tribute to the founders the of Lignus Exchange John and Rodney McVicar.

These two gentlemen are well known to the people of Canterbury through their national and international experience in the forestry industry.

Indeed most houses and buildings in Canterbury could boast of having McVicar wood products within them.

I believe it is also significant that this business idea has been brought to life by Cantabrians - in Canterbury.

This venture illustrates that in Canterbury at least, business is not getting bogged down in predictions of doom and gloom - but rather - thinking innovatively, identifying opportunities and going after them.

John and Rodney I congratulate you.

The Lignus Exchange is an example of where this Country should be heading in terms of the Knowledge Economy.

Here is an example of a traditional industry - forestry - arming itself for the
E-commerce future.

Using the Internet, Lignus will dramatically increase the ability for Kiwi wood producers to penetrate new markets by leveraging better market information and by reducing the operational costs of sales and purchases.

No longer is geography a barrier to the Kiwi wood producer.

The tyranny of distance has been conquered by technology and because of this small firms based in New Zealand can compete with the rest of the world.

Lignus is also visionary because it not only looks to the future for opportunities but it anticipates future market changes and potential problems.

Currently the New Zealand forestry industry is worth approximately $6 billion with about half of this going off shore. Japan is our largest export market followed by Australia with market opportunities growing in Korea, the United States and Taiwan.

However the so called “Wall of Wood” looms on the horizon with New Zealand’s log harvest expected to double by 2010 and triple by 2020. Australia is also committed to tripling it’s wood production by 2020.

It also is estimated that, by this period, 70% of the Kiwi wood harvest will be owned by small private wood companies.

The point here, is that these small companies will need technological tools like Lignus to better communicate with markets, promote their products internationally and compete with the big players.

Lignus provides the Kiwi forestry industry with a powerful weapon in the continuing fight for international competitive advantage.

It is also extremely significant that Lignus is backed by cutting edge technology which is internationally renowned but which is home grown.

Sir Gil Simpson’s Aoraki Corporation is the technology partner for Lignus using JADE software.

I have known Sir Gil for over ten years and have always admired him and his company because they exhibit that part of the kiwi spirit that says no task is too tough, no competitor is too big, no time line is too short and excellence must always be achieved.

I pay tribute to Sir Gil and his team together with John and Rodney McVicar.

Here is a synergy - Lignus and JADE - that is built out of innovation and vision.

It is this type of ‘go get them’ attitude that we as government must listen to, learn from and ultimately assist in facilitating.

I commend the Lignus team for bringing this project to life. You are an example to the rest of the Country.

I now have great pleasure in declaring the Lignus Timber Exchange open for business.


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