Billions Needed for Forestry, Says Smith

  • Dr Lockwood Smith

Forestry Minister Lockwood Smith says the forestry sector will need up to $6.5 billion worth of new investment over the next few years.

In a speech to the University of Canterbury's School of Forestry, Dr Smith said forestry's potential was enormous.

"It's been estimated that there's potential for 30,000 new jobs to be created in wood processing by 2010.

"And there's potential for forestry to deliver an extra $5 billion per annum in foreign exchange earnings by the same year," Dr Smith said.

But the minister said this depended on the industry getting new investment worth between $4.5 billion and $6.5 billion over the next few years.

That was why it was so important to maintain sensible and responsible economic policies, Dr Smith said.

"Clearly, not all of the extra investment we need can be raised domestically.

More than any other, the forestry industry is dependant on direct foreign investment.

"And I'm aware that attracting investment of that magnitude -- creating those jobs, getting those foreign exchange earnings -- depends largely on how the government, and its economic policies, are viewed internationally."