Large increase in New Zealand's wood supply

13 September 2000

Large increases in wood will become available from New Zealand's planted production forests over the next five to ten years, according to the latest figures released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry today.

Paul Lane, Senior Analyst, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, says the latest forecasts show that the sustainable wood supply could increase from the current harvest of 18.3 million cubic metres to around 28.5 million cubic metres by 2003 and further increase to around 30 million cubic metres by 2006.

To put this in context Lane points out that this additional 12 million cubic metres of wood supply (by 2006) is double the volume of wood used to produce New Zealand's total mix of forest products exported in the year to March 2000. With domestic demand relatively static, almost all of the future increase in harvest will have to be exported.

These large increases in wood supply raise significant issues for the forest industry, the Government and for those agencies responsible for providing New Zealand's infrastructure. These issues include the development of new export markets, reducing barriers to trade, infrastructure improvement, shortages in skilled labour and the need for higher levels of capital investment, particularly if the increased wood supply is to be processed in New Zealand.

The forecasts show increases in wood supply in all parts of New Zealand. The largest increases will come from Northland, the East Coast, Hawke's Bay and the southern North Island regions. The increases in these regions are forecast to occur over relatively short periods of time. The Northland and East Coast regions in particular have an under-developed forest industry and poor infrastructure, particularly roading.

The new forecasts have been produced under the National Exotic Forest Description partnership between the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Forest Owners' Association. The detailed modelling work was undertaken by Forest Research.

For further information contact:

Paul Lane, Senior Analyst, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Telephone: N/A26
Gita Parsot, MAF Communications. Telephone 04 498 9806

Contact MPI

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