7 Sep 2011

NZ should process more logs locally - Lockwood CEO

6:50 pm on 7 September 2011

One of New Zealand's building industry leaders says there needs to be less fragmentation in the forest industry and more local processing of logs.

Lockwood's chief executive Bryce Heard says Bay of Plenty's Forestry and Wood Processing strategy launched in Rotorua this week, has a lot of merit.

The strategy aims to extract more value from the region's forest industry over the next decade, by substantially increasing the local processing of logs destined for export.

But Mr Heard says it won't be easy because the industry is vertically fragmented between growers and harvesters and the primary, secondary and tertiary processors.

He says Chile is the other big radiata producing country in the world and 20 years ago New Zealand was teaching Chile how to grow and process radiata pine timber.

But he says today it is the other way around and Chile exports almost all of the radiata that it produces in processed form.

Mr Heard says he's right behind the strategy, which if it succeeds will mean increased employment in Bay of Plenty and better living standards.