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Bay of Connections forestry strategy to contribute to goal

Press Release – Bay of Connections

The Bay of Plenty region is well positioned to both benefit from, and contribute to, a new cross-sector forestry and wood products strategy that aims to more than double the New Zealand forestry industry’s business-as-usual export earnings to …28 March, 2012

Bay of Connections forestry strategy to contribute to national goal

The Bay of Plenty region is well positioned to both benefit from, and contribute to, a new cross-sector forestry and wood products strategy that aims to more than double the New Zealand forestry industry’s business-as-usual export earnings to $12 billion by 2022.

The strategy has been developed by the Wood Council of New Zealand (Woodco) and was launched at the ForestWood Conference in Wellington last week.

The strategy estimates New Zealand’s log and wood product exports could grow from $4.6 billion in March last year, to $12 billion in 10 years’ time if the industry embraces a plan to grow domestic capacity, diversify its export base and concentrate on high-value wood-based manufacturing.

The chair of the Bay of Connections Forestry Advisory Group, Bryce Heard, says the wider Bay of Plenty region, including Taupo, is already poised to contribute to the national strategy, with the implementation of the region’s forestry strategy.

The Bay of Plenty’s regional forestry strategy was developed under the Bay of Connections regional economic development strategy, and was released in September last year.

“The forestry industry has been a key part of the wider Bay of Plenty economy for more than 100 years, and it will continue to be so for another 100 years. Our challenge is to create more value with what we have, to generate greater returns to the industry and to our local economy,” says Mr Heard.

“Adding value to a harvest, which will increase by between two and three million m³ in the next 10 years, is a significant opportunity for the local industry, and it’s an opportunity that the whole industry must grasp.

“It is a challenge that has confronted the Bay of Plenty forest industry for about 25 years now. To date, we have seen low investment in high value consumer end wood products. There are deeply rooted reasons for this poor investment record and they are not easily fixed, however the new national strategy will also help us achieve that.”

Mr Heard says the new national strategy is focused on collaboration and co-operation across the industry, a philosophy that is already embedded in the Bay of Plenty through the Bay of Connections.

The Bay of Connections Forestry Action Group industry consultant John Galbraith, says the Bay of Connections forestry and wood processing strategy will be able to contribute to the national strategy in a number of ways.

“There are a number of areas where the Bay of Connections action plan supports the new national strategy, including in the promotion of wood for use in construction under the NZ Wood brand and the promotion of timber-acceptable solutions in New Zealand building codes and standards.

“The Bay of Plenty can also contribute to the development of pan-industry and innovation initiatives, and the development of education and career pathways.

“With nearly half of the national forestry harvest in the wider Bay of Plenty region, and the national centres of excellence in forestry science and education based here, we will be making a significant contribution to the national action plan, which will in turn provide benefit for the local sector and economy.”

Mr Galbraith says the Bay of Plenty industry will also play a role in the areas of infrastructure, clean energy, climate and industry service centres, which are considered areas of special advantage for the wider Bay of Plenty region.

Mr Galbraith says the Bay of Connections Forestry Action Group will be meeting in Rotorua next week and the new national forestry strategy will be on the agenda for discussion.

“One of our next steps will be to look for opportunities for our regional industry experts and leaders to contribute to parts of the national strategy. For our region to benefit, we need to ensure we are doing everything we can to support it.”

For further information about the Bay of Connections Forestry and Wood Processing sector strategy, go to http://bit.ly/GTwgvt

ENDS

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