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20. New Zealand

Country data


Total land area (thousand ha)

26,799

Total forest area 1995 (thousand ha)/% of total land

7,884/29.4

Natural forests 1995 (thousand ha)

n.a

Total change in forest cover 1990-1995 (thousand ha)/Annual change %

217/0.6

Population total 1997 (million)/annual rate of change 1995-2000 (%)

3.6/1.1

Rural population

13.7

GNP per person total 1995 in US$

14,340

Source of data: FAO - State of the World's Forest 1999

General information

The make-up of the New Zealand forest industry has changed substantially over the last 15 years. Deregulation of the New Zealand economy since 1984, the privatisation of the State-owned forestry assets since 1990, and private sector acquisitions and restructuring that followed have transformed forestry. The industry is now dominated by the private sector and includes numerous international companies. It also includes an increasing proportion of small forest growers.

The evolution has continued the segregation into two reasonably distinct forest estates in New Zealand. On the one hand, timber production forests comprising planted forests and, to a limited extent, areas of indigenous species are expanding in area and volume to meet domestic and export market demand. This trend allows for the State-owned natural forest to be set aside for conservation management of non-timber values.

As a result of the expansion in the planted estate, New Zealand is developing into a major forestry nation. By 2010, the forecast wood supply from our planted forests will be almost double the current harvest volume and will continue to rise. For the year ending 30 June 1999, forestry contributed 3.9 percent of New Zealand's national income.

Planted production forest

Sixty-four percent of the planted forest estate is owned by 13 major companies (with considerable off shore investment). There will continue to be rationalisation of forest holdings among existing companies as well as sales of forests allowing new entrants.

The remaining forests are owned by small companies, local government, partnerships, joint ventures and thousands of small scale land owners. The dominance of large companies in new planting has given way to smaller investors playing an increasingly important role. These include farmers, individual investors, Maori forestry interests and additional foreign participants. More than 14,000 forests are less than 100 ha in size, and is confirmation of this trend. It is possible that by the year 2005, small-scale growers will own one-third of the forest estate.

Estimates of new planting for1999 indicate an approximate area of 22,900 ha, down dramatically from the 1998 new planting of 51,900 ha, due in part to the Asian financial crisis influencing the level of new investment in forest growing in 1999

New Zealand's planted production forest now covers 1.73 million ha (April 1999). A further 12.6 million ha of land is physically suitable for expanding the planted forest estate on degraded farmland and rolling and steep hill country. The total standing volume of timber contained in these forests is 353 million m3. In the year ending March 1999, the volume of timber in New Zealand's planted forests increased by 32.8 million m3.

Harvesting

Harvesting has risen from 15.2 million m3 in the year ending December 1998, to 17.9 million m3 in the year ending December 1999 - an increase of about 18%. The increase has resulted from improved trading conditions in New Zealand's key export markets. Two-thirds of this was processed on-shore by New Zealand's industry mix of four pulp and paper companies, eight panel board companies, more than 350 sawmillers and approximately 80 remanufacturers.

Sixty-one percent of the forest area is 15 years old or younger because of planting done during the 1980s and 1990s. As these young forests mature, New Zealand's long term renewable wood supply is expected to double. From the actual harvest of 17.9 million m3, the wood supply is forecasted to increase to almost 30 million m3 by 2010 - an 84% increase.

Indigenous forest

Indigenous forests are a key part of New Zealand's environment and help protect the many values of our natural ecosystems in addition to making a marginal contribution to the wood supply. The main threats to these forests are introduced animals and plants and an increasing demand for access and recreational opportunities. The indigenous forests harbour about 126 native land bird species and subspecies (some classed as endangered or threatened), two species of bats, reptiles, freshwater fish, amphibians and invertebrates. Their other values include cultural recreational, scientific, historic and scenic.

Volumes harvested from natural forests have diminished over the past 50 years from being almost 100% of the total NZ harvest, to currently being less than 1% of the total harvest.

In 1993, amendments to the Forest Act were introduced that require landowners to have a sustainable management plan or permit if they wish to harvest and mill indigenous timber. The amendment also introduced indigenous timber sawmilling and export controls.

Expansion of area under sustainable management

The following table illustrates the changes that have taken place with respect to sustainable management plans and permits since the last APFC session, as of 31 January 2000.

Table 1: Sustainable plans and permits


1998

2000

Plans



Number

21

16

Area (ha)

28,993

29,483

Annual harvest (m3)

58,000

50,724

Permits



Number

83

212

Area (ha)

10,028

27,000

10 yr harvest volume

26,111

60,000


A further 9 plans and 59 permits were under consideration by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry at the beginning of this year.

Of the 1.3 million ha of indigenous forest in private ownership, only around 20 %, or 250,000 ha, is seen as having some potential to support sustainable management plans and permits. If all of this area was approved for sustainable forest management, it could yield an annual log harvest volume of around 250,000 m3.

Amendments to sustainable forest management legislation

Amendments to the Forests Act, currently before parliament, include proposals to:

· extend the controls on the export of indigenous timber to cover timber from land that is currently exempt from the Forests Act, viz South Island Landless Natives Act (SILNA) forests and State-owned, South Island West Coast forests;

· amend the nature of the controls to permit the export of logs and wood chips produced from sustainably managed indigenous forests;

· allow for South Island Landless Natives Act forests to be voluntarily brought within the sustainable management provisions of the Act.

Forests on land granted to Maori under the South Island Landless Natives Act are exempt from the indigenous forestry provisions of the Forests Act. They are the only private indigenous forests in New Zealand not covered by sustainable forest management requirements.

The opportunity for harvesting timber without the obligation for sustainable management makes SILNA forests also have high conservation values. There is also an equity issue with landowners of other forests that are subject to the Act, who see themselves as disadvantaged. The Government has been involved in a number of settlements to prevent such harvesting from taking place, and the current policy towards SILNA forests is to pursue negotiated settlements with the owners on a section by section basis (there are over 400 sections in total). These negotiated settlements may include bringing the sections under the Forests Act, agreement to a conservation outcome, and withdrawal of grievance claims. Inclusion under the Forests Act would be on a voluntary basis. The mechanism for this is dependent on the passage of the Forests Amendment Bill currently before Parliament. The first stage of this process is to gain the agreement of owners to a one-year voluntary moratorium on harvesting, on receipt of a small goodwill payment from the Government.

Cessation of beech logging on State-owned land

State-owned production forests on the West Coast of the South Island are managed by Timberlands West Coast (TWC) - a stand-alone State-owned enterprise.

The newly elected Government has halted all beech harvesting in State-owned forests, and amended Timberlands West Coast's mission statement to preclude the harvesting of beech.

Government review of logging (other than beech) on State-owned land

The West Coast Accord, signed in 1986, is an agreement between environmental groups, local authorities, industry and the Government which, amongst other outcomes, resulted in certain areas of forest on the West Coast of the South Island being set aside for sustainably management timber production. The Timberlands Deed of Appointment is based on the West Coast Accord.

TWC has introduced sustainable forest management under independently audited plans. The management standard in these Rimu forests is generally consistent with the Forests Act's requirements, and has been recognised internationally. TWC has also developed and established commercially viable aerial extraction techniques (helicopter harvesting) in Rimu forest.

The Government is currently reviewing its obligations under the West Coast Accord, and its options for ceasing all Rimu logging in the West Coast state forests. At the same time, the Government has confirmed its commitment to sustainable forest management in indigenous forests on private land.

Ongoing debate on processes to determine sustainable forest management, the use of negotiated accords, and sustainable resource management in general, is likely.

Completion of a land cover database

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has just completed mapping No's land cover through analysis of satellite imagery and on-ground verification. The process was started during 1996/97 and was completed in May 2000. Planted forests, indigenous forests, scrub, and major shelter belts, along with 12 other land cover types, can be reliably identified on satellite imagery and all areas greater than one hectare have been mapped.

These images will effectively be a “snapshot” of the location of New Zealand's forest resource. The Land Cover Database improves the accuracy of core Ministry statistical databases, assists both in monitoring shifts in land use and the Government's ability to meet a range of international reporting requirements. It is expected that this data will be pivotal in determining habitat fragmentation and quantifying the areas of remaining forest vegetation by forest type.

On-going development of a National Environmental Performance Indicators (EPI) Programme

The Ministry for the Environment is developing a national environmental indicator program in order to provide standardised methods and protocols for the collection of environmental data.

The Government's objectives for the EPI program are:

· to systematically measure the performance of its environmental policies and legislation;

· to better prioritise policy and improve decision making;

· to systematically report on the state of New Zealand's environmental assets.

A modified Pressure-State-Response (PSR) model has been used as the framework. This model has been applied in many other countries and is recognised internationally as a useful framework.

We are now more than 80% through the process of confirming the core set of environmental performance indicators. Only transport, urban amenity, energy, animal pests, weeds and diseases remain.

Currently trials of indicators for land, air freshwater, climate change, ozone and waste are underway, and indicators for marine, toxics, biodiversity and transport are also underway.

Montreal process criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management

New Zealand, Australia, China and Japan from the Asia-Pacific region, and 8 other countries with temperate and boreal forests, are members of the Montreal Process. The Montreal Process represents the prime international instrument whereby New Zealand can monitor and assess national trends in forest condition and forest management.

The 11th Montreal Process meeting was held in November 1999. New Zealand recently contributed to a report on “Progress and Innovation” produced by the Montreal Process group. The first full official report by member countries will be in 2003. New Zealand has just completed prioritising its reporting efforts against the 67 indicators.

Collecting the required information for reporting will require a collaborative effort between government agencies and the forestry sector. This work has already commenced.

Certification developments

There is a fast growing interest world wide in timber certification. There are a handful of schemes that have been adopted internationally and regionally, while a number of countries are developing their own national schemes.

New Zealand participated in a meeting in New York last year initiated by Australia. This meeting allowed for considerable sharing of experiences with certification. Whilst government intervention in the international market was not necessarily seen as being required at this point, it was agreed that it was important that governments continue to monitor developments in this area.

The New Zealand forest industry has been heavily involved, through chairing the International Forestry Industries' Roundtable, in developing a framework for mutual recognition based on substantive equivalence of different systems. Within New Zealand, the NZ Forest Industries Council (NZFIC) is developing a Verification of Environmental Performance system to provide a cost effective, credible, environmental performance verification and communication tool for use by New Zealand forest industry companies. This is now undergoing some trials with the intention of implementing it later this year.

Application of certification schemes to growers of small forests in New Zealand presents difficulties. Their small scale of operations and the high costs associated with many of these schemes has not encouraged the adoption of any of the existing processes. VEP and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) are currently exploring ways to facilitate participation by small wood lot owners.

Erosion control

The East Coast Forestry Project is a Government-funded initiative aimed at controlling present and potential erosion in the East Coast region of the North Island by means of afforestation, reversion or gully planting. This area has some of the world's most severe soil erosion. Preventing the erosion is a key land sustainability issue facing New Zealand.

A government review of the project, completed in 1999, adopted the single objective of promoting the sustainable use of 60,000 ha of highly erosion-prone land. Funding was approved to continue at up to $6.5 million per year. This will enable new planting to continue at 2-3,000 ha per year. Around 40% of the target area is Maori-owned land.

Health and safety implementations

The forest industry has one of New Zealand's highest accident rates by international standards. Both the New Zealand Forest Industries Council and the New Zealand Forest Owners' Association have committees focusing on safety. Recently, the industry training organisation - Forest Industries Training - developed a Forest Safe Campaign that seeks to change workers' behaviour and attitudes.

In 1999, the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Service of the Department of Labour completed a Safety Code of Practice for Forestry Operations, and Guidelines for the Provision of facilities and General Safety and Health in Forestry Work.

Forest companies environmental management system (EMS) implementation

Most of the major companies in New Zealand have implemented their own EMS's in the last few years. These typically more than cover their obligations under various acts such as the Resource Management Act and Health and Safety in Employment Act. As a consequence, the applicability of the industry Code of Practice for Forest Harvesting has to a degree been made redundant for these companies because of the existence of more detailed and company-specific operating guidelines.

Wood processing and utilisation

Most of the wood available for processing over the next 5 to 6 years is owned or managed by a few companies, all of whom have wood processing divisions. Investment by the current large forestry companies is likely to be in both new plants and extensions, and upgrades to existing plants. Expansions by existing smaller independent sawmillers are most likely to be in plant upgrades. The industry faces a significant challenge to process the future harvest expansion.

With changes in resource management regulations, and increasing wood production in many wood-processing companies, the use of wood residue flows within the production site has increased in importance over the last few years. For large integrated processing sites (where a solid wood processing plant is colocated with either panel or pulp and paper plants) the practice of using wood residue for heat generation for other processes is already in place. The focus is on process improvement to reduce costs and external waste flows.

Data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry's Annual Survey of Sawmills and Chipmills for the year ending 31 March 1999 indicates that 16 % of residues from the sawmilling process is used to provide heat and steam at an associated processing plant. This figure is up from 11 percent in the 1995 survey.

Pest and disease incursions

To protect forests and agriculture from harmful pests and diseases, New Zealand requires that timber imports must be free of bark, fungi and insects. All imports are inspected at port of entry and where contamination is found, fumigation is required.

The increase in imports and international passenger movements has increased the level of risk that New Zealand faces from pests and diseases.

Government and industry-funded surveillance programs using independent service providers are in place to detect any pests that are introduced.

The level of surveying required to meet the probability of detection is determined through risk profile modelling techniques.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is addressing a number of issues:

· The risks associated with the importation of used vehicles.

· Revision of the import health standard for pine seed to combat the threat of pine pitch canker.

· The risk of pests being introduced via the outside of imported containers. Viable gypsy moth egg masses have been found on containers on more than one occasion, following targeted inspections. A risk assessment of the external surfaces of imported sea containers is currently under action.

· The quarantine risk from air cargo imports.

· The need to ensure quarantine measures conform with the International Plant Protection Convention and the World Trade Organisation's Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement, signed by New Zealand.

· Incursions necessitating recent responses from the Ministry, including the painted apple moth (Teia anartoides) in Auckland, which is a potentially serious threat to forestry and horticulture, the gumleaf skeletoniser (Uraba lugens) at Tauranga, which is a potentially serious threat to the increasing eucalypt estate, subterranean termites in Otorohanga, and Dutch elm disease in Auckland.

Amendments to the Resource Management Act

The forest industry has been very active in pursuing an effects-based approach to local authority plans produced under the Resource Management Act 1991, rather than the previous prescriptive approach.

Key forestry issues in the planning process include:

· treating forestry equitably with other land uses, which flows from controlling effects and not activities;

· establishing planning certainty, especially given forestry's long timeframes;

· processing of resource consents (cost and time); and

· Developing self-regulation and recognising and utilising Codes of Practice.

The Resource Management Amendment Bill addresses a number of the forestry industry's concerns to varying degrees. It includes provisions that would enable contestable resource consent processing and consent applicants or submitters to request commissioners to consider applications. It contains other provisions to streamline consent processes, reduce duplication of responsibilities within regional and territorial government, and tighten the requirements for cost-benefit analysis of council planning.

Assessment of IPF Proposals

Most of the IPF proposals will be covered in New Zealand through meeting our obligations in other areas, e.g. the Montreal Process, the Kyoto Protocol, the Biodiversity Convention, the RMA, the Forest Act, and the Biosecurity Act. Nonetheless, a “gap analysis” was initiated early this year to ensure that the proposals are being covered.

Increasing energy usage and awareness

The availability of competitive energy sources is particularly important for wood processing industry development. Further investment may be delayed/hindered if appropriate and adequate energy supplies are perceived to be not available at competitive prices.

The wood processing industry is estimated to have consumed around 50 petajoules (PJ), or 12% of the total NZ energy consumption in 1998. Of this, pulp and paper production consumed around 44 PJ. The energy used by the wood processing industry in 2020 is expected to reach 83 PJ, up 66% from 1998. The potential for co-generation of energy has been realised by the forest industry, which produces around 50% of the energy it consumes by burning pulp and wood residues.

Emerging labour concerns

A labour shortage is developing in the forest growing and harvesting sectors, which will be exacerbated with an increasing wood supply. While employment opportunities are rising, particularly in harvesting, forestry is seen as an unattractive industry. (See also training below).

Port upgrading

Forestry's competitive advantage is critically linked to continuous improvement at the country's ports. Port reforms initiated in the late 1980s have resulted in greater loading efficiencies and more flexible working hours, with consequent economic benefits to the port companies.

Forestry products exports are projected to increase substantially due to the increase in harvest volumes over the next 5 to 10 years. Many ports around New Zealand are upgrading and adding new facilities to service the expanding volume and range of forest product exports.

Research status and issues

Research and development are key to upgrading New Zealand forestry's commercial and environmental competitive advantages. Forestry sector research and development expenditure is drawn from both the Public Good Science Fund (PGSF) and forest industry investment as illustrated in the table 2. below.

Table 2: Expenditure on Research and Development (in million $)

Subject

1996/97

1997/98

1998/89

Total PGSF

266.8

294.5

304.0

PGSF Forestry

22.7
(8.5%)

24.6
(8.4%)

24.7
(8.2)

Industry investment

36.0

44.8

32.6


NZ Forest Industries Council (NZFIC) has recently produced a report on Strategic Directions in Research and Technology for New Zealand's Forest-Based Industries. The objective of the strategy is to provide an integrated approach to the research and technology needs of New Zealand's forest-based industries. Forest Research (a State-owned Research Institute), continues to conduct internationally respected research into growing and managing forests and using forestry products. However, spreading the research findings to parts of the sector that do not directly fund Forest Research is often limited. Information on species other than Radiata pine is restricted, and Forest Research has recently reduced funding on alternative species.

Training and education initiatives

The training needs and qualifications requirements of five forestry sectors (growing and harvesting, biosecurity, solid wood processing, wood panels, and pulp and paper) are determined by the industry through Forest Industries Training (FIT), and registered on the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) framework. FIT is the forestry's Industry Training Organisation (ITO), and a part of the NZ Forestry Industries Council.

FIT is the largest of 52 ITOs and caters for the needs of over 8,500 trainees. The organisation has experienced sustainable growth over the past four years from under 3,000 trainees to nearly three times that figure.

Over half of the education and training is delivered by a number of independent training providers, namely polytechnics and private training enterprises accredited through NZQA.

Much on-the-job training takes place in forests and mills. Many companies have opted to link their own company training systems to the nationally recognised industry training framework based on unit standards and national qualifications.

Government financial support through Forest Industries Training for the 1999/2000 year is $4.4 million ($4.2 million in 1998/99) - with the industry typically contributing just over half of that amount.

Considerable progress has been made on developing programs and systems to improve training achievement, e.g. from 2000 onwards on the job training and assessment will be subsidised.

Industry training is complemented by ongoing technology transfer activities provided for by industry associations, such as the Timber Industry Federation, New Zealand Pine Manufacturers Association, Forest Industry Engineering Association and the NZ Institute of Forestry.

Community issues

Forestry's effects on rural communities and environments in New Zealand have generally been positive and for the year ending 30 June 1999, forestry directly provided jobs for more than 25,000 people. However, the forest industry is being asked to respond to a number of challenges, including:

· potential impacts of harvesting activities on ecological values;

· the perception of planted forestry as a monoculture (based on a single species) and associated concerns;

· impacts on rural community populations, infrastructure and employment; landscape changes; and

· road infrastructure demands and safety.

Tapping Maori forestry potential

Forestry has a number of advantages for the Maori, as compared with other potential land uses. It is seen as an inter-generational use, providing a return to the owners through harvesting approximately once per generation. Forestry is relatively profitable and can provide Maori with valuable employment opportunities. It protects hill country from erosion. One of the main factors restricting new Maori planting has been the difficulty in obtaining development finance for multiple-owned land.

A common strategic objective of recent governments has been closing the economic and social gaps between Maori and non-Maori. The establishment of a Cabinet Committee on Closing the Gaps, headed by the Prime Minister, shows the current government's commitment to this objective.

Around 21 percent of all planted forests are on Maori-owned land. Most of these forests are owned and controlled by forestry companies or the Government, through long-term (up to 99 years) forestry leases. The government is progressively transferring its interests in the leases to the Maori landowners. Over the period 1997-99 the Government negotiated two direct sales and one progressive transfer to the Maori. Discussions with other lessors are making good progress.

The transfer of lease forests to Maori landowners has the potential to significantly increase Maori involvement in commercial forestry in the Central North Island, Northland and East Coast regions. This in turn could have implications for Maori economic and social development.

In addition, there are claims on State-owned lands under an historical treaty (Treaty of Waitangi) signed between Maori and the State. Forest assets have been used to fund and settle some of these claims.

Rental income from the forested lands goes into a fund administered by the Government Forestry Rental Trust, with interest from the fund going to assist the progress of Maori claims to the forests.

International agreements and conventions

The expanding forest estate is thought to be offsetting a high proportion of New Zealand's carbon emissions.

New Zealand's Kyoto Protocol target is to stabilise emissions at 1990 levels on average for the period 2008-2012.

New Zealand still has to make decisions on a mix of measures that will deliver emission reductions across the economy. Some of these decisions can only be made once international negotiations resolve the necessary details of the Kyoto Protocol. Central among these issues is the treatment of greenhouse sinks.

New Zealand has undertaken significant afforestation/reforestation efforts since the agricultural reforms of the late 1980s. Therefore, forest sinks are important to New Zealand because the expanding forest estate will offset a high proportion of New Zealand's carbon emissions.

An economic instrument that rewards absorption is likely to boost the expansion of planted and indigenous forests, creating climate change and other environmental benefits.

Development of a Carbon Monitoring System (CMS)

A program to develop a monitoring system for a national carbon budget in indigenous vegetation and soil started in 1996.

The overall aim of the project is to develop a framework national system for monitoring carbon in indigenous forests and scrub land, and in soils, to ensure that New Zealand can meet its reporting requirements under the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC). It will also assist in meeting other national and international reporting requirements.

The estimates of total forest and scrub carbon are satisfactory to meet the reporting requirements of the FCCC.

The proposed CMS will be based on a national uniform square grid containing a permanent sample plot system. Estimates of carbon stocks will be determined by using allometric relationships to the tree and shrub diameter and height measurements and to measures of dead wood volume. The main spatial data source will be the land use database that has been developed (refer above). The system being developed to monitor soil carbon is a modification of the IPCC approach. New Zealand's land area has been stratified into climatic and soil classes, and overlain by land-cover/land-use (LC/LU) classes to derive climate/soil/land-use cells. Climate and soil classes are regarded as constant over time, while LC/LU classes change. Coefficients of change are being developed to estimate changes in soil carbon as a function of land use change over time. The climate and soil classifications have been completed and tested.

The first three-year phase of the project ended in June 1999. The Ministry for the Environment appointed an international review panel to assess whether it and other stakeholders could have confidence in the approach and systems being developed by the research providers.

The CMS will provide important contributions for New Zealand's international reporting requirements under the UNFCCC, UN/FOA/TBFRA-2000 and Montreal Processes.

Release of national biodiversity strategy

As a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity, New Zealand's draft Biodiversity Strategy was launched in January 1999. The strategy sets a vision, goals and actions towards conserving and sustainably using New Zealand's biodiversity.

The intention of the draft biodiversity strategy is to:

· Increase our knowledge of our indigenous biodiversity and key threats to it. Fill critical information gaps through a co-ordinated national research strategy for biodiversity.

· Make information about indigenous biodiversity more available and accessible to people and communities to enable them to make decisions and take actions to conserve and sustainable manage biodiversity.

· Develop performance standards and codes of practice to assist primary producers and businesses to sustain biodiversity.

The forest industry is involved in a number of joint initiatives with conservation groups to protect biodiversity values. Examples are, the New Zealand Forest Accord, the Principles for Commercial Plantation Forest Management in New Zealand, and the Carter Holt Harvey-sponsored Project Crimson (to protect and enhance Pohutukawa and Rata).

Asia-Pacific economic co-operation

A key APEC objective is to strengthen the open multilateral trading system and to reduce barriers to trade in goods and services among participating economies. In 1999, APEC leaders gave strong support for the launch of the new WTO round. This was to include comprehensive market access negotiations on industrials (which include forest products) being completed within three years and consideration of the “Accelerated Tariff Liberalisation” proposal by the APEC economies that would have ensured faster tariff reductions for forestry products.

The Seattle Ministerial Conference in December 1999 was, however, suspended without reaching a formal conclusion. Nevertheless, it is important that New Zealand and APEC continue to work towards the re-launch of a broad-based round of WTO negotiations, including non-agricultural products to reduce barriers to forestry products trade.

Timber imports tariff reduction

Since mid 1980's successive New Zealand governments have committed to a steady and significant reduction in tariffs on imported timber. The rates were reduced further between 1998 and 1999 to where they are now typically around 6.5% to 7% on timber and timber products.

The current government has frozen tariffs at the 1999 level, and these will be reviewed again in 2005.

In 1999, it imported around US$550 million worth of forest products. Of this, less than 1% was made up of tropical timber. Sawn timber accounted for around 60% of the tropical timber imports and plywood/veneers made up a further 35%. Major timber suppliers were Indonesia (24%), Fiji (17%), and Australia (14%).

Focal Point
David Rhodes
Senior Policy Analyst
International Policy
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
ASB Bank House
101-103 The Terrace
P.O. Box 2526, Wellington
Telephone: 64-4-4989829
Fax: 64-4-4744206
E-mail: Rhodesd@MAF.govt.nz

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