Forestry sector revamp under way


The coalition Government has scrapped the system of mandatory registration for log traders and forestry advisers (Image by wirestock on Freepik)

Venu Menon
Wellington, July 1, 2024

Log traders and forestry advisers are no longer required to register with the Forestry Authority. Instead, registration will be voluntary.

“I am confident the voluntary registration through the New Zealand Institute of Forestry is a better mechanism to support the quality of forestry advice,” Forestry Minister Todd McClay says.

The Forests (Log Traders and Forestry Advisers) Amendment Act 2020 was repealed on 29 June 2024.

The government will refund any fees or levies already paid to the Ministry for Primary Industries this season, forest owners have been assured.

Under the repealed law enacted by the former Labour government, log traders and forestry advisers had to compulsorily register with the Forestry Authority (established for this purpose).

Forest owners have welcomed the repeal.

Forest Minister McClay says timber products play a pivotal role in New Zealand’s primary exports, contributing $5.8 billion to the economy in 2023.

The previous Labour government introduced the system of registration for log traders and forestry advisers with the aim of “strengthening the integrity and resilience of New Zealand’s forestry supply chain.”

It believed regulations were necessary in order to operationalise registration and counter the “poor quality and inconsistent advice provided to small growers, leading to lower returns and supply chain problems.”

In May 2020, Cabinet agreed that the Ministry of Primary Industries should implement the registration system for log traders and forestry advisers, “so that registered people can understand their obligations, and the Forestry Authority is assisted to exercise its functions.”

There was concern that, without regulations, the registration of log traders had no expiry date in sight. The registration system addressed questions such as “who should register; the information needed to support the application to be registered; the length of registration; reports that must be provided to the forest authority; the information that will appear on the public register, and the complaints process.”

Public consultations under the registration process for log traders and forestry advisers were conducted from 26 November 2021 to 17 January 2022. Forty-six submissions were received, with the majority supporting the proposals for regulations.

The Labour government identified a net benefit for the New Zealand economy of up to $179 million over 10 years as a result of the registration system.

Log traders and forestry advisers began to register from August 2022. Operating without registration became an offence from August 2023.

The Amendment Act (to the Forests Act 1949) commenced on 6 August 2022.

But Forestry Minister McClay says “the existing legislation fails to deliver outcomes and places unnecessary costs on forest businesses.”

The minister says an operating environment that supports a strong economy and strengthens the integrity of the supply chain is essential to getting New Zealand back on track,

“Today’s legislation honours our pre-election commitment to cut wasteful spending and restore confidence in the forestry sector,” McClay notes.

Venu Menon is an Indian Newslink reporter based in Wellington

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