Levy will benefit all forest growers

19 November 2013

The Trust set up to collect funds for activities that will benefit all forest owners is delighted to have received government approval for a levy on forest products from January 1.

"We may be the engine of the country's third biggest export industry, but forestry has a huge untapped potential to extract greater value and to build on the eco-system benefits we already provide. The levy per tonne is only small, but when it is multiplied across the millions of logs our growers produce each year, we will be able to fund work that directly benefits all growers and indirectly, all New Zealanders," says Forest Growers Levy Trust chair Geoff Thompson.

Earlier today, associate minister for primary industries, Hon Jo Goodhew, announced government approval of a 27c/tonne levy on all harvested wood material from New Zealand plantation forests during 2014. This is expected to raise more than $6.5 million during the year.

Forest Owners Association president Paul Nicholls says getting the levy to this point has involved a huge amount of behind-the-scenes work.

"The time and energy that has gone into this reflects the wish of most growers to have a more cohesive industry where everyone can have their say and everyone pays their fair share for activities that benefit us all."

Farm Forestry Association president Ian Jackson says the development of the levy concept has resulted in an unprecedented level of co-operation between large and small growers.

"We've always been at the table, but having an elected levy trust board, where all small growers will be represented as of right, cements the relationship. Importantly it means all tree growers will make a financial contribution at harvest and have the opportunity to be involved in the governance of the industry."

This comes as the Trust is conducting elections for its permanent Trust Board.

"This morning, the on-line vote count stood at 242, with 234 of these being from owners of smaller forests and eight in the over-1000 hectare category. Many eligible forest owners have yet to exercise their democratic right. We strongly urge them to do so, with the poll closing this Friday 22 November," Mr Thompson says.

Forest Growers Levy Trust media release. For more information, contact Geoff Thompson, Tel 04 499 3280