Wood Council of New Zealand releases study aiming to identify, overcome barriers to improving wood products industry's international competitiveness

WELLINGTON, New Zealand , June 24, 2011 (press release) – The Wood Council of New Zealand (Woodco) today (24 June) released 'Building a Stronger Future For Wood', the 2011 industry study.

The study, commissioned in November 2010, aimed to identify key priorities and barriers to improve opportunities for the industry, and gain industry agreement on the highest priority areas to be addressed collectively.

"I'm proud to be associated with an industry which is clearly looking to the future with this document, and Woodco is investigating developing a strategy to capitalise on the issues identified in the study" said Doug Ducker, chair of Woodco.

"While we still need to do more as an industry to support industry-good activities, the cooperation that was involved in putting this study together shows that the industry has come a long way.

"Once developed, an industry strategy will also provide the government and other key stakeholders with a road map that outlines the direction and priorities of the industry. This will assist the government in aligning its programmes and policies with the industry's direction and priorities"

The study involved interviews with industry leaders representing businesses from all parts of the value chain, as well as service providers, key stakeholders, the Minister of Forestry and a number of senior government officials.

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Acting Deputy Director-General Iain Cossar congratulated the Wood Council of New Zealand for moving towards developing a strategic plan for the industry, saying "It is pleasing to see the sectors that make up the forest industry express their willingness to work together to improve the industry's long-term, international competitiveness. A collaborative and strategic approach by the industry should improve the profitability and resilience of wood-based businesses."

MAF's recent Situation and Outlook for New Zealand Agriculture and Forestry report noted strong growth in forestry exports. Total exports earnings for the year ended March 2011 were estimated at NZ$4.4 billion, with earnings for next year forecast to rise to NZ$4.7 billion. Continued demand from China, growth in the Indian market and rebuilding after disasters in Christchurch, Queensland and Japan are expected to underpin medium-term demand for wood products.

"There are a number of significant challenges facing the industry in the future, but we are confident that New Zealand can maintain a strong wood products sector alongside its bountiful forest resource" said Mr Ducker.

"I would like to thank everyone involved in the production of this study; I see it as being a significant step in the development of the New Zealand forestry and wood products industry".

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