Forestry Minister Shane Jones says overseas investment in forestry that brings genuine benefits to New Zealand’s economy and its environment will be welcomed by the Government. Sources: Timberbiz, Scoop NZ
Mr Jones says he is pleased with the inclusion of a Forestry Directive in the new Ministerial Directive Letter issued to the Overseas Investment Office, which sets out the Government’s policy approach to overseas investment in sensitive New Zealand assets.
“The inclusion of a specific directive for forestry recognises the importance of forestry to the New Zealand economy and regional communities,” Mr Jones says.
“As part of the coalition agreement, this Government has committed to an ambitious tree planting program that will require a partnership between the Crown and the sector itself. High-quality overseas investment can certainly help us achieve this goal.
“Forestry, and the processing of forest products, are significant sources of employment in our regions and we want to build on that to get more people into a sustainable workforce.
“I’ve heard first-hand from the industry the value of good overseas investment and the Forestry Directive recognises there is a role for overseas investors to play. However, we want to encourage value-added wood processing to generate jobs and other benefits for our regions.
“The new directive for forestry directs the Overseas Investment Office to place high importance on increased processing of primary products and the advancement of the Government’s policies when assessing applications for consent.
“It also emphasises that Ministers expect the Overseas Investment Office to impose conditions on consent where appropriate – for example, a requirement for the overseas investor to enter into a supply arrangement with a local processor,” Mr Jones said.
The letter recognises that conditions imposed on forest land may need to be for longer periods given the often long-term nature of these investments.
“Forestry has an important role to play in many of the Government’s priority areas – enhancing regional development, improving water quality, reducing carbon emissions and creating jobs – and I’m looking forward to seeing the sector prosper in the coming years,” Mr Jones said.