INDEPENDENT NEWS

Better late than never, Jim

Published: Thu 11 Sep 2003 10:13 AM
Better late than never, Jim
National's Forestry spokesman, Brian Connell, is applauding the release of a Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry report detailing the problems confronting New Zealand's forestry sector.
"These are exactly the problems that I, and everyone else in the forestry industry have been warning about over the past year," says Mr Connell.
"Perhaps Jim Sutton will pay attention now that his own Ministry is admitting there are some real issues to deal with.
"This report has identified and repackaged all the same problems that have been confronting us for some time - like insufficient infrastructure and the difficulties of attracting investment for wood-processing.
"They're saying nothing new, they've just taken a very long time to say it," says Mr Connell.
"These are serious issues, but the time could have been more productively spent if Jim Sutton had started working on them months ago. Instead, he's let his Ministry reinvent the wheel and confirm what our foresters already knew.
"For example, the call to increase the value of our timber products through better wood-processing is hardly new.
"If the Minister genuinely wants to help, he needs to pull down RMA barriers so the sector can actually get facilities up and running, without years of drawn-out consent processes," says Mr Connell.

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