A new log registration scheme and practice standards will bring us one step closer to achieving ‘value over volume’ in our forestry sector, Forestry Minister Shane Jones says.
New legislation introduced as part of Budget 2020 will require forestry advisers, log traders and exporters to register and work to nationally agreed practice standards that will strengthen the integrity of New Zealand’s forestry supply chain.
The new legislation follows a smaller package of measures announced late last year as part of the Government’s ambition to see a thriving forestry sector that benefits New Zealand and New Zealanders first and foremost.
“The COVID-19 crisis showed us how an overreliance on log exports to a small number of markets makes our forestry industry less resilient and more susceptible to global forces,” Shane Jones says.
“An enhanced domestic wood processing sector will play an important part of the recovery for our regional economies, helping create new export products, new jobs for Kiwis and a renewed sense of ownership of our forests.
“Industry consultation identified that improved professional standards, market assurance measures and better information resources were critical areas to enable a more integrated system. The quality of advice from forestry advisers and interactions with log traders is critical to the financial returns forest growers receive, and to the operation of the broader log market.
“The new regulatory system will provide some critical foundations to help the industry navigate what is anticipated to be a more volatile and uncertain trading environment during the COVID-19 recovery period.
“Having a more transparent market will better connect owners of land and owners of trees, and particularly for first-time entrants to the market to timber processors and marketers of forest resources to domestic and overseas customers.
“New Zealand’s log supply market is in transition, with smaller owners playing an increasingly important role in the annual harvest. Knowing that only registered professionals can provide forestry advice is expected to give growers greater confidence in the recommendations they receive on the management and valuation of their investment, and the financial returns achieved through the sales and purchase process,” Shane Jones says.
Forestry advisers will need to demonstrate they have the relevant skills, experience, and qualifications to advise growers, and undertake training and professional development in their specialist areas.
Log trading entities will need to pass a fit and proper person test, operate in accordance with industry standards, and meet record keeping and reporting requirements.
The Bill also allows for an arbitration and compliance system to support accountability.
“This will help support a continuous, predictable and long-term supply of timber for domestic processing and export and result in greater confidence in business transactions, both in New Zealand and internationally,” Shane Jones says
“These changes are critical for the country’s reputation as a reliable, high quality producer and exporter of wood products, and for the improved economic, employment and environmental outcomes for the industry and community regionally and nationally,” Shane Jones says.
Photo: Forestry Minister Shane Jones