21 Mar 2014

Call for pro-wood policies in election

3:43 pm on 21 March 2014

One of New Zealand's largest privately owned timber companies is calling on all political parties to support a pro-wood policy in the coming election.

Red Stag Timber, based in Rotorua says if a future government implemented a pro-wood policy then it would mean investment of up to $500 million in the sector, including a $120 million capital investment in upgrading its own plant.

Its chief executive and chairman, Marty Verry, says his company is keen to lead an industry transformation to process more wood from logs that are now exported.

He says it will mean a shot in the arm for the wood industry and many more jobs.

"To get the type of projects New Zealand needs can take up to three years, so to get the return on investment we really need solid demand from 2018 onwards, " he said.

"And what we are doing is reaching out to the biggest customer in this country, the Government, and saying if you tweak your purchasing so there is a higher ratio of wood, then that will provide demand for commercial projects to fill in the gap as residential demand tapers off."

Mr Verry says the industry need assurances that a robust pro-wood policy would be followed by whichever party becomes the government.

He says the Labour Party's policy announced this week is very close to the mark.