WOOD MANUFACTURING MATTERS!
Especially in New Zealand's regions
Thank you to all the WPMA members who supported the WPMA Conference in Christchurch. For those of you who couldn’t make it please see the links below to the presentations and photos.
Did we succeed in making the point that “Wood Manufacturing Matters!” ? By all accounts of those who commented – we did – and powerfully. Objective No 1 achieved. We also gained other important outcomes too:
Our keynote speaker, economist, Alison Pennington presented the policy actions that government could and should be taking to support NZ manufacturing. We will now be pressing government departments to take these up. John Carnegie from Business NZ agreed with these actions and argued that things will get tougher for NZ manufacturers with the push towards a zero carbon economy – especially where our overseas competitors are being eased into this “new world” through subsidisation.
Trade Minister David Parker emphasised the importance of trade working to benefit everyone in NZ and acknowledged that the NZ wood sector is not seeing the full benefits of NZ’s trade regime. He confirmed that government departments were urgently addressing this now and highlighted the domestic log market investigation that is moving into full swing. The Minister credited the WPMA for convincing the government of the need to address the seriously distorted market for logs. Paul Clark from Westpac told us that the trade imbalance is having a measurable impact on productivity and is an underlying reason why investors would be running shy of the sector.
Economist, John Ballingall, has been commissioned to carry out the next step in the official investigation into the log market. He outlined to the conference how he’ll go about this. Look out for John over the next few months as he moves into investigative mode! Andy Glenie provided a lawyer’s view on steps we could also take under NZ competition law to help “level the playing field” in the domestic market.
Toni Brendish, Philip Benson and Dean Boston provided great insights into the wider NZ manufacturing picture. They showed us that we are all in the same boat and facing a heightened regulatory regime; aspects of which were described by Mike Cosman on health and safety and Geof Nightingale on taxation. Kevin Golding reminded us that customer expectations will always change and drive ever upwards. John Moore said, therefore, that we need to be further exploiting the unique characteristics and adaptability of radiata pine.
Helen Anderson pressed the go button on the NZ Wood Design Guides and you will have seen a separate announcement on this go out this morning.
A big thanks to all our sponsors and look out for us on the road as we kick off this year’s round of WPMA Regional Meetings.
Check out the links to presentations (scroll down to 'Presentations').
Dr Jon Tanner