Merger paves way for stronger organisation
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.