23 Oct 2012

Log levy wanted for research

6:35 am on 23 October 2012

Forestry organisations are planning to impose a levy on logs to raise money for research.

The Farm Forestry and Forest Owners Associations will hold a referendum of all growers throughout New Zealand in March next year to gauge support for the levy.

They need backing from the majority of the 10,000 growers - both in numbers and on a production basis.

At the moment, the associations represent only about a quarter of all forest owners.

Forest Owners Association vice-president Paul Nicholls says it is time for the rest to contribute.

"The people that aren't members probably planted their trees in the 1990s and the early 2000s,'' he said.

''They're just probably sitting in the back paddock and their owners haven't really thought about disease control or how do I harvest these and maximise my return out of them - that's the reason why a lot of these owners aren't members of any association.

"But the harvest in New Zealand is going to increase from about 25 million cubic metres to 35 million cubic metres a year.

"That's when these growers who aren't members will start to harvest their trees and we want to get out to them now that this is what we need to do. We need to spend some money to make sure we keep the pests and diseases under control and we find ways to be able to harvest these trees profitably."

Mr Nicholls said the log levy rate is likely to be about 40 cents per cubic metre.