29 Nov 2011

Not all doom and gloom for forest industry

6:09 am on 29 November 2011

The Wood Processors Association thinks the future is looking brighter for the forest industry.

Chief executive Dr Jon Tanner says it has been a mixed bag over the past few years, with log sales booming while processed timber sales languish.

Lumber exports for the June quarter were down more than 20% on the same period last year at the height of sawmill closures.

However, Dr Tanner thinks the industry has reached the low point.

"New opportunites have come out of the Japanese tsunami, so you're looking at increased opportunities there. People are obviously looking at Christchurch with great hope (but) not a great deal of movement there."

He says the industry is more stable and people are looking forward to the future.

"We're already seeing that log prices are falling away and exchange rates are improving. So that makes a big difference to people exporting."

Dr Tanner says some sawmill job losses have been due to improved technology.