1 Dec 2014

Non-chemical option for timber exports to Australia

3:48 pm on 1 December 2014

Timber exporters shipping wood to Australia now have access to a non-chemical option for treating the timber for pest control.

After a successful trial last summer, a programme aimed at reducing the use of methyl bromide has been opened up to exporters.

Methyl bromide is an ozone depleting gas used to fumigate logs and other timber products and is the main treatment for exports to Australia, such as sawn timber, timber mouldings, panel products and veneer sheets.

Logs at Port Chalmers

Photo: PHOTO NZ

It is used to control a wood boring pest called the burnt pine longhorn beetle.

Exporters will be able to use a non-chemical treatment method which involves creating a physical barrier between wood products and the beetle.

It will be available during the beetle's summer flight season which runs from October through to April.

Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew said it stemmed from a wider Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) research programme aimed at meeting New Zealand's commitment to reducing the use of methyl bromide as a fumigant in the timber and horticulture industries.

"Now we know that for example, ethyl formate can be used on fresh produce, things like kiwifruit, but for the timber, what we trailed last year and now have opened up for more usage is putting a physical barrier between the wood product and this wood boring beetle, known as the burned pine longhorn beetle, so that just gives another opportunity for products to be exported without using methyl bromide."

Ms Goodhew said the aim was to reduce methyl bromide use by 40 percent.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs