NZ Wood Processing Under Threat From Lack Of Action

14 August 2017

New Zealand First says it will bring in a Canadian-style law to ensure log exports don’t destroy the New Zealand wood processing industry.

“We have a bill before the Parliament to do just that,” says New Zealand First Leader and Member of Parliament for Northland Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“Forestry is our number three export, but it is being vacuumed up by foreign-owned companies with devastating results for the wood processing industry in provinces like Northland.

“When a Chinese company can employ 18 Chinese for the price of one New Zealand worker how do New Zealand’s wood processors’ compete for the raw log product in the first place. They can’t and politicians should understand that.

“Up here in the North a Chinese company is chopping down immature 20 year old trees.

“That might suit their economy but it certainly doesn’t suit ours.

“Meanwhile, the National government stands by like an impotent bystander.

“This is why New Zealand First will re-establish the New Zealand Forestry Service.

“This means the Crown will have the ability to create plantation forests on state-owned land and jointly with landowners on private land.  That’s more forests, more jobs, and more erosion prone land being put into forestry.

“Our Bill is about a sustainable flow of wood by way of licensing and management plans to prevent forest depletion. Based on Canadian law, we’ve seen the cost of National’s anything goes approach result in the axing of the proposed $300 million Ngawha wood plant and 200 jobs.

“Our approach requires that processing plants in New Zealand have first rights of supply from our plantation forests before any logs are exported, just like the Canadian model.

“This is about adding value in provinces like Northland, and not Shanghai which is what is happening right now. 

“By requiring management and harvest plans we will see a much higher environmental performance during harvest and a marked reduction on silt and nutrients entering waterways.  Better water quality is another objective of New Zealand First’s forestry policy.

“New Zealand First will build the provenance of New Zealand forestry that simply cannot be realised by exporting raw logs without regard to local processing requirements,” says Mr Peters.