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NZ may limit wood exports due to shortages

Comments this morning from New Zealand’s Building and Construction Minister Poto Williams that the Government is considering limiting wood exports to keep construction materials from going offshore, will send a shiver down the spine of many businesses according to the ACT’s Trade spokesperson Brooke van Velden. Sources: Timberbiz, New Zealand Herald

The Government was warned its efforts to tackle New Zealand’s housing affordability issues could be hampered by wood shortages.

The issue has become so significant, Building and Construction Minister Poto Williams is considering limiting timber exports to ensure there is enough in the country.

It’s also caught the attention of Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick, who this week intends to call for a select committee inquiry into building products, with a specific focus on timber.

This comes as the cost of building materials continues to rise, pushing up house prices.

Minister Williams is in the process of getting advice from the Construction Sector Accord, before presenting to Cabinet.

She said there was “no doubt” the industry’s facing shortages.

“Yes, we acknowledge there’s an issue, but there’s work happening, and what we’re doing is still continuing to build houses,” she said.

The ACT trade spokesperson Ms van Veldon said: “Why would you invest in your business, if the Government could step in and make huge decisions on how you operate it, including limiting your export market?

“Timber today, farming tomorrow?

“New Zealand also has a shortage of builders to build the homes we need. Is the Government’s solution to a builder shortage to stop builders leaving New Zealand at the border?

“There is an issue with timber supply in New Zealand. The Government should be asking the question, “how do we create an environment for investment?” rather than seeming hostile to large sectors of the economy.

“Timber is expensive because it is difficult to develop milling capacity. Houses are expensive because it’s difficult to build homes.

“The Government is overstepping the mark here and it needs to rein itself in before it does even more damage to business confidence.”