Major Miscalculation Should Bring Rethink Of Job Costing Forestry Policy

  • Tony Ryall
State Owned Enterprises

"Labour's replacement Forestry Spokesman, Pete Hodgson, revealed today that the assumptions upon which his Party based its forestry policy were totally wrong. Labour should now rethink its sustainable forestry policy," SOE Minister, Tony Ryall, said today.

In a media statement issued today, Mr Hodgson revealed that Labour was under the impression that rimu produced from private land would provide furniture manufacturers with the timber they desperately need to make sales and keep jobs.

"Mr Hodgson said Labour had no intention of letting furniture companies run short of rimu.

"He quoted figures showing the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry was approving more sustainable logging plans than ever before, and went on to say that rimu was the predominant product from these private forests. From these assumptions Labour had concluded that there would be no shortage of rimu, and that it could safely shut down sustainable rimu production from the Accord forests on the West Coast.

"The problem for thousands of New Zealanders working in our furniture industry is that Labour has got it totally wrong.

"In fact Timberlands produces around 80 percent of the 35,000 to 40,000 cubic metres of rimu timber produced annually.

"MAF advises that sustainable private forests will produce just than 4,500 cubic metres of rimu per annum - 11 percent of the timber needed.

"And, far from being ‘the predominant product', rimu will make up just 8 percent of the timber produced sustainably from private forests. One can not imagine how the Labour opposition could have got such an important figure so badly wrong.

"Labour's miscalculation would have bleak consequences for up to 4,000 people employed in the furniture industry. One manufacturer, Willets Furniture Company of Oamaru, has already said publicly that Labour's policy was ‘potentially disastrous for his company'.

"Apparently the Labour opposition had no idea its decision would affect these employers so badly, and, given the new information, it should immediately reconsider its position.