New appointment strengthens forestry expertise at MAF Biosecurity

23 August 2002

MAF Biosecurity has appointed Peter Thomson, formerly a senior manager with Carter Holt Harvey, as its new director of Forest Biosecurity effective from this month.

"We welcome Peter's extensive forestry expertise. This and the added strength of his extensive managerial background will give our Forest Biosecurity team a real boost," said MAF Biosecurity group director Dr Barry O'Neil.

Mr Thomson has worked in forestry since 1990, working first for NZFP Forests and subsequently Carter Holt Harvey.

"My career to date in the forestry sector has been extremely satisfying and has given me exposure to a broad range of issues and the opportunity to lead and manage in a range of areas," said Mr Thomson. His more recent roles within Carter Holt Harvey's forestry division have included Manager of Technology Implementation in 1996-1997, Manager Technical Services from 1997-1999 and from 1999 until this year he held the position of Operations Manager for Forest Fibre Solutions, Central.

"The last decade has been an exciting time to be in forestry with a lot of change occurring. We have a lot more challenges and opportunities coming, not the least of which will be protecting New Zealand's forests while facilitating international trade. I'm confident we can succeed in this area if we stay focussed, have good communication and robust systems and standards," said Mr Thomson.

"Biosecurity isn't completely new to me. Being responsible for forest health related operations and research within Carter Holt Harvey, chairing the NZ Forest Health Research Collaborative and being a past member of the Forest Owners Association forest health subcommittee have all provided a good perspective on the importance of strong biosecurity and the challenges involved in achieving good outcomes.

As director of the Forest Biosecurity group, Mr Thomson is the principal adviser to the Ministers of Biosecurity and Agriculture on the protection of New Zealand's forests from biosecurity risks. He is also responsible for the management of significant pests and diseases, and the forest biosecurity aspects of imports and exports of forest products to and from New Zealand.

The Forest Biosecurity group develops standards to protect New Zealand's forestry resource against new pests and diseases and negotiates market access for forest products. The group is currently managing response programmes to several serious exotic pests, including painted apple moth and Dutch elm diseases (Auckland), gumleaf skeletoniser (Tauranga) and subterranean termite (Otorohanga).

"I am excited by the challenges ahead of me and look forward to developing my areas of expertise further, making a real contribution to New Zealand's biosecurity systems and standards and helping to underpin the long-term well-being of the forestry sector," said Mr Thomson.

Mr Thomson holds a Bachelor of Forest Science from the University of Canterbury as well as an Executive MBA from the University of Waikato.

For further information and/or to arrange an interview with Mr Thomson contact:

Stephen Olsen
MAF Communications Adviser
email: olsens@maf.govt.nz

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