New Zealand is the world’s second largest exporter of unprocessed logs - this is not a compliment

Authors: Chris Goulding
Publication: New Zealand Journal of Forestry, Volume N.Z.J.For. 2013, Issue N.Z.J.For. 58(1) 2013, pp 44, May 2013
Publisher: New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Abstract: The 13 million cubic metres exported as logs last year is half the annual harvest. It represents an enormous loss in the export revenues which could be achieved if the logs were processed profitably in New Zealand. The Woodco strategy suggests that export revenues could be more than doubled, bearing in mind that we face fierce competition from the likes of the Canada, Brazil and the Nordic countries. Only Russia exports more logs than does New Zealand. Their government forest policy, however crude, is determined to reduce this amount. Few people would suggest that our government establish primary wood processing facilities such as sawmills, pulp mills or even bio-refineries. Nor is it recommended that the taxpayer directly subsidise the private wood processing sector. However, government is expected to provide the political, economic and social environment where opportunities for industry thrive. Judging by results in the New Zealand forest sector, it is not doing so.