Merger paves way for stronger or­gan­i­sa­tion

Australasian Timber - - MERGER -

THE MERGER of New Zealand’s Wood Pro­ces­sors’ As­so­ci­a­tion and Pine Man­u­fac­tur­ers As­so­ci­a­tion’ into the Wood Pro­ces­sors and Man­u­fac­tur­ers As­so­ci­a­tion of New Zealand (WPMA) was cel­e­brated at the of­fi­cial launch in Welling­ton.

The idea for the link-up was seeded a few years back but it’s re­ally been the ef­fort of both boards led by Chairs Brian Stan­ley and Tom Boon over the last 18 months that has re­sulted in an as­so­ci­a­tion that pow­er­fully links up the whole value chain for wood-based prod­ucts: sawmillers, panel mak­ers, pulp and paper mak­ers, pack­ag­ing providers, con­struc­tion com­po­nent fab­ri­ca­tors, bio-chem­i­cal and bioen­ergy pro­duc­ers and the vi­tal sup­port in­dus­tries that make up one of New Zealand’s big­gest man­u­fac­tur­ing and ex­ports sec­tors.

It was an im­pres­sive gath­er­ing with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from all parts of New Zealand’s man­u­fac­tur­ing and pri­mary in­dus­tries and also from Govern­ment de­part­ments that are the in­dus­try reg­u­la­tors, trade fa­cil­i­ta­tors, science and tech­nol­ogy in­vestors and skills providers. As Brian Stan­ley, WPMA Chair, re­marked “we are here to speak to the whole of NZ Inc. and not just our­selves - a real change in the way we op­er­ate”.

The main point of Brian’s pre­sen­ta­tion was to high­light that “we are the only ma­jor in­dus­try that is based on a to­tally re­new­able nat­u­ral re­source, that can cre­ate new jobs and at­tract new in­vest­ment to the re­gions while pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment”.

And he strongly sug­gested “he New Zealand Govern­ment move be­yond its less than an­kle deep in­volve­ment in our in­dus­try and pay se­ri­ous at­ten­tion to the wood pro­cess­ing and man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor in ne­go­ti­at­ing and main­tain­ing trade re­la­tions.

“To me it is com­mon sense that the Govern­ment aligns its pub­lic pol­icy in­ter­ests to pro­mote the best over­all out­come for New Zealand. It is log­i­cal there­fore that New Zealand should fol­low the lead of Ja­pan, France­and Bri­tish Columbia in tak­ing a Wood First Ap­proach.”

He in­tro­duced the idea that the wood in­dus­try was “Re­new­ing New Zealand” and challenged other sec­tors to make the same com­pre­hen­sive claims.

“Govern­ment must cre­ate a level play­ing field be­tween sec­tors here in NZ par­tic­u­larly in terms of en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion,” he said.

Ja­pan has been a long­stand­ing cus­tomer for New Zealand wood and is a ma­jor in­vestor and in­no­va­tor in the sec­tor. The Am­bas­sador for Ja­pan to New Zealand, Ya­suaki No­gawa, gave the key­note speech.[See his full ad­dress on this page] He talked about the scale of the Ja­pan/New Zealand re­la­tion­ship in the wood sec­tor, the cul­tural affin­ity the Ja­panese have for wood, the value of wood in pro­vid­ing re­silience to nat­u­ral dis­as­ters and the plans for fu­ture large scale build­ing in wood, not least the con­struc­tion of fa­cil­i­ties to ac­com­mo­date the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Ja­pan needs no con­vinc­ing that wood is good and that New Zealand is a trusted sup­plier.

Vice Chair Tom Boon con­cluded by out­lin­ing what the CEO of a mem­ber com­pany now ex­pected from WPMA: 1) ad­vo­cate for a level play­ing field in in­ter­na­tional trade, 2) up to date build­ing stan­dards that recog­nise that wood is a su­pe­rior con­struc­tion ma­te­rial and 3) that wood and the wood in­dus­try must be pro­moted through the NZ Wood In­dus­try Story.

The func­tion was hosted by Deloitte.

Staff photo: Tech­ni­cal Man­ager.Jeff Parker, Ex­ec­u­tive As­sis­tant Jeanette Suther­land, CEO Dr Jon Tan­ner, Chair Brian Stan­ley, Pro­mo­tions Man­ager Deb­bie Fergie, Vice Chair Tom Boon.

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