Associate Primaries Industries Minister Louise Upston has welcomed new forecasts showing forestry export revenue set to rise further over the next two financial years.
The Ministry for Primary Industries’ first quarterly update of its Situation Outlook for Primary Industries shows forestry export revenue is forecast to rise 5.8 per cent to $5.4 billion for the year ending June 2017, and a further 8.8 per cent to $5.9 billion in the year to June 2018.
“Rising log exports are behind this positive forecast, with a strong demand from China due to its expanding housing market. This, combined with low shipping costs, has driven harvesting to record levels,” Ms Upston says.
“Increased building activity in Auckland and Christchurch are also driving domestic consumption of sawn timber, up 7 per cent in the year to September 2016, which is great news for the forestry sector.”
The annual harvest reached a new record in 2016, pushed up by higher log prices, with the supply of harvestable wood set to increase over the next five years.
“Forestry is our third highest export-earner and an important industry for our regions. This Government is encouraging more planting through the Afforestation Grants Scheme which has $19.5 million to establish 15,000ha of new forests between 2015 and 2020.
“Not only is the planting of new forests good for the sector, but it helps with erosion control, carbon sequestration and the better use of marginal land,” Ms Upston says.