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Forest owners pleased with government policy for emissions

Phil Taylor

Forest owners say the government’s announcement of a policy to give preference to low greenhouse gas emission materials in government construction will be good for both the environment and for the timber construction industry. Source: Timberbiz

The Forest Owners Association in New Zealand says the Labour Party promised a policy to use timber as a first option for government building contracts, before the last election, so it’s been a long time coming.

“It’s great to have the policy announced at last, which cites wood as the preferred material,” Phil Taylor, president Forest Owners Association said.

“I see it as an opportunity to get those government officials whose job it is to specify for construction materials to seize on the new timber technologies which are now available, such as cross laminated timber and laminated veneer lumber.

“Mid-rise construction is now possible with these high strength construction materials.  And they perform well in earthquakes.

“The government also announced back in July that building codes for all construction would increasingly reflect a priority of protecting the environment under a Building for Climate Change policy.

“The two new policies, one for government construction, and the other for construction in general, are over time going to benefit both the forest industry and the domestic timber processing industry as well.”

Mr Taylor is supported by the President of the Farm Forestry Association, Hamish Levack, who said that small scale foresters are very vulnerable to price fluctuations.

“If there’s a new domestic demand driver through wood preference then small-scale foresters are more likely to get back into business and provide income and employment for harvest crews.”

Mr Taylor said that the environmental aspect of the wood preference policy is hugely important.

“Steel and concrete construction emits greenhouse gasses, so transferring over to timber construction keeps carbon locked up in the wood and not released into the atmosphere,” he said.

“Using more wood in construction also reflects back on the fact that forestry is a productive land use, provides employment in rural communities, protects the habitat by soil stabilisation and cleaning waterways, and also that forests are a valuable recreation resource.”