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Forestry Policy Announcements Welcomed by Bay of Connections
The Bay of Connections has welcomed Labour’s policy announcements to support the industry’s journey “from volume to value” meaning the sector is high on their agenda.
Labour’s policy announcement includes initiatives such as tax deferrals in the form of accelerated depreciation to encourage industry to invest in new technology and plant; working with industry and public science organizations to foster innovation and develop new products and technologies; and measures to add value to wood products in New Zealand, rather than exporting raw logs.
The announcement includes a “Pro-Wood” government procurement policy for all government-funding buildings up to four storeys high, forestry taskforces for long-term unemployed and loans to encourage new forestry planting.
The Chair of the Bay of Connections Forestry and Wood Processing Action Group, Bryce Heard, says the policy announcements are a welcome reflection of the importance of the forestry and wood processing sector to the New Zealand economy – and to local economies and communities in the Bay of Plenty region.
The Bay of Connections is the regional growth strategy for the wider Bay of Plenty region, and includes the key forestry and wood processing areas of Rotorua, Kawerau and Taupo.
“The goal of the Bay of Connections Forestry and Wood Processing Strategy is to improve the investment environment for wood processing in the region, in order to add value to more than 70 per cent of the logs harvested in the wider Bay of Plenty region by 2020.
“The achievement of this goal would add more than 700 jobs and $150 million per annum to GDP – a positive impact that would be felt in whanau, homes, businesses and local economies across the wider Bay of Plenty region.”
Mr. Heard says the Action Group is advocating for a level playing field in terms of infrastructure charging for domestic wood processing versus log exports, fair access to markets and a stability of exchange rates.
The group is also active in promoting and assisting with development of “wood first” policies for local bodies across the wider Bay of Plenty region.
“A greater level of local processing in our region will provide a more stable demand and supply chain for industry, forest contractors and their local communities and encourage more investment in safe, productive equipment.
“We are pleased to see that, while there is a long way to go this year, the forestry and wood products sector is being given the attention it deserves in these policy announcements.”
For further information about the Bay of Connections the Forestry and Wood Processing strategy, go to www.bayofconnections.com
Jacky James - 021 577 871
Thursday, March 20, 2014