Wall of Wood be­ing ‘dis­man­tled’

New Zealand Logger - - Forest Talk -

WOOD PRO­CES­SORS ARE HOP­ING THAT New Zealand First’s in­flu­ence on the new govern­ment will guar­an­tee log sup­plies to their mills in the fu­ture.

While de­tails of the new ad­min­is­tra­tion’s plans for forestry were still sketchy when NZ Log­ger mag­a­zine went to press, mill own­ers are bank­ing on com­ments made by Win­ston Peters dur­ing and af­ter the elec­tion cam­paign that ex­ports of logs cut from trees as young as 20 years of age need to be “reigned in”.

The sit­u­a­tion has be­come acute in North­land, where mill own­ers say they have a con­stant bat­tle to buy enough logs to meet lo­cal pro­cess­ing re­quire­ments as the Wall of Wood con­tin­ues to be “dis­man­tled”. Many of the logs be­ing har­vested, es­pe­cially in wood­lots, come from trees that are too young and the wood is not suit­able for milling.

The sit­u­a­tion could be­come even worse, not just for North­land tim­ber pro­ces­sors, but for mills through­out the coun­try with pre­dic­tions of only an­other five years of guar­an­teed tim­ber sup­ply.

Dr Jon Tan­ner, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of the New Zealand Wood Pro­ces­sors and Man­u­fac­tur­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, was re­cently quoted as say­ing that due to the “vo­ra­cious” ap­petite of over­seas log buy­ers the long-term avail­abil­ity of log sup­ply for do­mes­tic pro­cess­ing was un­der se­ri­ous threat.

Within five years, he be­lieves, the four mil­lion tonnes pre­dicted to be avail­able for lo­cal in­dus­try could shrink to around half that to­tal.

“The wall has not yet gone, but we’re look­ing at a big hole,” says Dr Tan­ner.

He is call­ing for the in­dus­try and govern­ment to work to­gether to slow down the rate of felling im­ma­ture forests.

NZ First leader, Win­ston Peters, says con­trols need to be put in place to en­able lo­cal saw mills and wood pro­ces­sors to ob­tain the logs without in­ter­rup­tion to their busi­ness. He has even sug­gested the in­tro­duc­tion of a quota scheme that would force for­est own­ers to of­fer logs to mills first be­fore they are ex­ported, as hap­pens in Bri­tish Columbia.


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