Firstly from David Cunliffe:
The next Labour Government will give the forestry and wood products industries the policies they need as part of Labour’s plan for an economic upgrade, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says.
David Cunliffe announced new policies today at the ForestWood Conference 2014 to support the industry’s journey from volume to value.
“Forestry and wood processing are critical industries for the economic upgrade New Zealand desperately needs, especially in the regions.
“Our focus on investment, innovation and industry will see an upgrade in the industry to create better jobs that pay higher wages where they are desperately needed.
“To encourage investment we will provide tax deferrals in the form of accelerated depreciation to encourage industry to invest in new technology and plant.
“To boost innovation we will work with the industry and public science bodies to develop new products and technologies.
“To support industry development we will introduce measures to rebalance away from sending more raw logs overseas to developing more and better production here. These include:
- A Pro-Wood government procurement policy for government-funded buildings up to four storeys high to boost the domestic market.
- Suspensory loans to encourage new forest planting.
- Forestry taskforces for long-term unemployed.
- Introduce legacy forest status to protect our indigenous forests.
“Our opponents just cruise along, with no clear plan for our economy while wages stagnate and the cost of living continues to increase.
“Labour’s economic upgrade will lead to better jobs and higher wages for all New Zealanders”.
His full speech can be read here. A few highlights:
Our economy needs an upgrade, because while New Zealand is the best country in the world to live in, it’s not the best place to make a living.
I have a vision of a New Zealand that harnesses the potential of all our people.
A vision of a country with the most productive and competitive businesses in the world. A vision of a country with better jobs and higher wages.
Right now New Zealand is not on a path to achieve that vision. Our economy today is driven by land banking and speculation, not by innovation and productivity.
And from David Parker:
A Labour Government will give targeted tax incentives to encourage much-needed capital investment in the wood processing industry, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says.
“The proportion of our forestry products exported as higher value processed goods is decreasing. Every year New Zealand is exporting more and more raw logs; millions each year.
“A Labour Government will change that.
“A targeted tax incentive is needed to overcome the increased risks which wood processors face in a small economy. This will encourage the substantial capital investment needed to maximise value from our wood industry.
“It will enable the modernisation of our wood products industry and allow the sector to link into the global value chain.
“New Zealand’s internal market means large-scale wood processors are more reliant upon exports than those based in large economies like the United States or China.
“Processors with a greater exposure to exports face higher risks such as concentrated exchange rates, cultural barriers and the added difficulties of maintaining trading relationships with more distant clients.
“Unless those risks are reduced, the investments in the capital equipment needed to improve scale and productivity in forest processing based in New Zealand are unlikely to be made.
“Labour will work with domestic and foreign capital to make this work.
“Our accelerated depreciation will help attract the capital needed to migrate from ‘volume’ to ‘value’.
“We want to partner with industry to ensure an increasing amount of the output from forestry moves up the value chain – from raw product to light processing; from light processing to elaborate processing; and from elaborate processing to high-technology and product innovation.
“Today’s policies represent a major step in achieving that ambition, with accelerated depreciation by itself predicted to increase capital expenditure in forest processing by between $40 and $80 million a year”.
The Greens have also announced policy designed to increase the use of wood as a building material. From their website:
The Green Party in Government will put $1 million towards the cost of the first 10-storey or higher New Zealand building constructed with structural timber, Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said today.
Structural timber is a new construction technique for tall buildings with much of the technology developed here in New Zealand. These laminated timbers can be used as a smart, green alternative to the concrete and steel currently used for the load-bearing elements in high-rise buildings.“The Canterbury rebuild presents a unique opportunity to use structural timber as a smarter, greener alternative to concrete and steel.”
“We will create a $1 million award in government to encourage the wider uptake of structural timber in the building sector,” said Dr Norman.
“The Canterbury rebuild presents a unique opportunity to use structural timber as a smarter, greener alternative to concrete and steel.
“The award is part of a bigger package of measures that will ensure forestry is our next high value export sector.
“Our exports of raw logs have surged while the local sawmilling and wood manufacturing industry has lost 4,000 jobs. Under National, we’ve seen a rapid simplification of our export base.
“This is not a smart way to run our economy.
“Rather than sending increasing amounts of low value-added raw logs overseas, the Green Party will encourage new technologies to be developed – such as structural timber – that will add value to our wood production and create good green jobs in New Zealand.”
Green Party forestry spokesperson, Steffan Browning, highlighted the high potential of structural timber buildings to lower carbon emissions and to add value to our log exports.
“Widespread adoption of structural timber in the building industry has the potential to substantially reduce the climate change impact of our building industry,” said Mr Browning.
“Timber buildings effectively become carbon sinks.
“Additionally, we can make our buildings lighter, stronger, and safer in an earthquake. St Elmo Courts is a six-storey structural timber building currently under construction in Christchurch and will be built to 180 per cent of the earthquake building code.
“Forestry can play a central part of a smarter, greener, more resilient economy.”