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Growth predicted for BOP forestry sector

Advocacy and strong, non-partisan leadership will pave the way for growth opportunities in the Bay of Plenty region’s forestry and wood processing sector with a newly updated Bay of Connections strategy.

The Forestry and Wood Processing Strategy 2014 has been developed under the Bay of Connections framework, following the input of a significant number of industry representatives, to help support and accelerate the development of a market-led, globally-focused, high-value wood products industry in the region.

The original strategy was first launched in 2011 and has recently been updated to include the highlights and progress since then, as well as the areas of focus for the next three years.

The strategy was led by the Forestry and Wood Action Group (FWAG), whose key role is to support industry growth through advocacy, communication and collaboration and covers the wider Bay of Plenty region including Eastern and Western Bay of Plenty, Rotorua and Taupō.

FWAG chair, Bryce Heard, says the focus of the strategy is to provide advocacy and strong leadership to maximise growth opportunities across the wider Bay of Plenty region.

“The wider Bay of Plenty’s forestry and wood processing sector represents the central hub of the industry in New Zealand, producing 40% of the nation’s harvest,” says Mr Heard.

“The region presents a number of opportunities including forestry and natural energy resources, research capabilities, and the increasing relevance of Māori as land and forest owners.”

Mr Heard says there was significant input and support from industry representatives who attended a series of local sector workshops to update and refine the strategy to meet the changing needs of the industry and the evolving operating environment. He says their contribution is fundamental to the success of the strategy in the future.

FWAG co-ordinator, John Galbraith, says highlights from the past three years include the successful lobbying for the extension of the high productivity vehicle network in the region, submissions made on key regional and national policies and plans, local forestry representation and messaging on the Prime Minister’s trade delegation to China and input provided to National Building and Forest Management Standards.

“Our attention is now on the five focus areas that have been identified for advocacy and strong, non-partisan leadership utilising collaborative planning, lobbying and communications – improving the investment environment, facilitating market access, providing a forum for open debate on sensitive issues within the sector, developing our people and working with Māori.”

The Bay of Connections is the industry-led growth strategy for the wider Bay of Plenty area, including the Eastern and Western Bay of Plenty, Rotorua and Taupō regions, in partnership with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the region’s economic development agencies.

The strategy can be viewed online.

For further information about the strategy or FWAG, please contact John Galbraith, FWAG co-ordinator, or Bryce Heard, FWAG chair.

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Friday, November 7, 2014

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