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Crisis in New Zealand Log Supply


New Zealand wood processing leaders held a hui with senior government officials and political leaders in Whangarei this week to assess the acute log supply shortage to local mills in Northland. Source: Timberbiz

The joint industry/government meeting saw statistics that clearly show the completely unsustainable forest harvest rate in Northland, Northland forests being harvested and exported at an immature stage, limited evidence of replanting and certainly no new afforestation.

Brian Stanley, Chair of the Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association of New Zealand (WPMA), said that the Northland circumstance is severe but he is hearing a clear message from WPMA members that a threatening log supply situation is being observed from Northland right through to Southland.

“If New Zealand wants economic growth in its regions, jobs for local people, affordable housing and environmental protection then it needs a viable New Zealand wood industry,” Mr Stanley said.

This view was strongly reinforced by Mr Pita Tipene of Taitokerau Maori Forestry Inc, who added the importance to Maori of being able to take the lon- term view on forestry development.

“What we are seeing unfold here in Northland is rabid global demand for wood coinciding with short term speculation in the industry,” Mr Stanley said.

“The pillaging of our forests cannot continue.  We owe this to future generations. I want to see our forest resources treated as a national strategic asset; held with the same mana, for example, as our land, minerals and fisheries.

“Thirty years after New Zealand took the radical step to privatise the industry we are now at the end of one growing rotation of our trees. We need to know where this “privatisation experiment” has landed us. It’s for this reason that I am, today, calling for an urgent review of the industry.  This joint government/industry Rotation Review needs to start in Northland now and extend nationwide.”