11 Oct 2004The purchase of the Prime Sawmill in Gisborne by Malaysian-owned forestry company Ernslaw One has been praised by the NZ Forest Owners Association.
Association president Peter Berg says Ernslaw has taken a long-term position in forestry ever since it first invested in New Zealand in 1990.
"They have supported their forest ownership with value-adding wood processing first at Blue Mountain Lumber in Tapanui and more recently with their announced intention to build a mill on the Coromandel Peninsula," he says.
"Once again they are taking a longer-term view by supporting their very recent forest acquisition on the East Coast with a wood processing option that will ultimately build value for all forest owners and those employed in forestry work in the region.
"This is exactly the sort of investment up the forestry value chain that New Zealand needs. We are pleased to have investors of this calibre in our industry."
Mr Berg says Ernslaw's investment on the East Coast will take a lot of the boom and bust out of the forestry business there. While one other major company is involved in wood processing in Gisborne, most forest owners on the coast have been heavily reliant for sales on the volatile export log trade.
With its recent forest purchases on the East Coast, Ernslaw now has about 84,000 ha of forests in New Zealand, making it the country's third largest forest owner after Carter Holt Harvey and Kaingaroa Timberlands. Of this area, 26,000 ha of radiata pine and Douglas fir have been planted by the company itself.
"This investment in the establishment of new forests provides meaningful employment opportunities today and scope for further wood processing in the future," Mr Berg says.
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