Forestry Minister Shane Jones moves to protect sawmills

Forestry Minister Shane Jones has introduced a Bill to Parliament that he says will "force more transparency, integrity and respect" for the domestic wood-processing sector through the registration of log traders and practice standards.

The Forests (Regulation of Log Traders and Forestry Advisers) Amendment Bill had its first reading in Parliament on Thursday night, and will now go to the Environment Select Committee.

"The Covid-19 crisis showed us how an over-reliance on log exports to a small number of markets makes our forestry industry less resilient and more susceptible to global forces," Jones told the Northland Age.

"An enhanced domestic wood processing sector will play an important part of the recovery for our regional economies, helping create new export products, new jobs for Kiwis and a renewed sense of ownership of our forests.

The New Zealand First MP said he and leader Winston Peters aimed to stop "unscrupulous traders" from stripping the north of pine trees and sending them overseas while "local sawmills were being undermined".

"Thousands of Kiwis send their husbands, sons and occasionally daughters to work in these manufacturing sites, and we're no longer going to tolerate them being undermined just so a tiny group of log traders can profit with a cellphone and a four-wheel drive."

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