24 Jul 2020

Forestry reform bill passed by Parliament

12:44 pm on 24 July 2020

Parliament has passed a forestry reform bill aimed at providing better information on log supply.

Logs stacked after an industry operation.

Photo: RNZ / Stock Photo

The Forests Amendment Bill will require forestry advisers, log traders and exporters to join a register and require them to work nationally agreed practice standards.

The bill aims to ensure logs are sent to local processors instead of being exported raw and was introduced just after the 2020 Budget.

Critics of the bill, including the Forest Owners Association and Federated Farmers, have called it cumbersome and expensive.

It was referred to the Environment Select Committee, which reviewed more than 600 submissions.

Shane Jones said a number of changes had been made to the bill as a result of the input from submitters.

"[The bill now] provides an exemption from the requirement to register as a forestry adviser for those already covered by other occupational licensing regimes established under other legislation, such as lawyers."

Jones said the language of the bill had also been updated to ensure it was clear that it aimed to provide equity of access to timber for both domestic processors and exporters.

"This means all people buying and selling logs will have access to transparent and impartial information and advice, so they can make well informed business decisions, and that our domestic wood processors get a fair chance to purchase logs."

Jones said the the next part of the process is for Te Uru Rākau (Forestry New Zealand) to work with the forestry sector to develop draft regulations, rules and practice standards.

These regulations would be subject to significant industry and stakeholder consultation and were expected to be in place in 2021, he said.