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13 April 1999
The Forest Health Team of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) has been sold to New Zealand Forest Research Institute, a Crown Research Institute.
As part of the sale, the 14 Forest Health Team surveillance staff based throughout New Zealand at Kerikeri, Auckland, Rotorua (headquarters), Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch and Dunedin will transfer to the new owner.
The Forest Health Team undertakes a range of surveillance services aimed at early detection of forest pests and diseases, including the provision of assessments for forest owners of the health status of their forests. Specialist input into programmes aimed at eradication, control or long-term management, in cases where a new pest or disease is detected, are also part of the services provided.
Commenting on the purchase, the Director-General of MAF, Bruce Ross, and Chief Executive of Forest Research in Rotorua, Bryce Heard, noted the "positive move for the forest industry, cementing the already strong synergies between Forest Research forest health diagnostic, research and quarantine capability with the expertise of the Forest Health Team".
According to Mr Heard, "the purchase is strongly supported by the forestry sector who recognise the benefits of a more commercially-driven forest health service".
The decision to sell the service was prompted by an external review of MAF's forest health surveillance functions which concluded that the delivery of these services did not have to remain function of a core government department. MAF will continue to specify and purchase services aimed at delivering Government's forestry biosecurity programmes through Forest Research.
For further information contact:
Dr Paul McFarlane, Manager, Sustainability and Risk, or
Michael Franks, Company Secretary, Forest Research
Phone 07 347 5899; Facsimile 07 346 3049.