7 December, 2010
Launch of Wood Design Advisory Centre
Welcome to Parliament.
I want to start by extending my thanks to Professor Andy Buchanan, the Timber Design Society and NZ Wood for your
long-standing commitment to providing your expertise and services to this industry.
Forestry is critical to New Zealand’s growth agenda.
It is New Zealand’s third largest merchandise export earner, accounting for 10 percent of all merchandise exports and
generating around $4 billion in export revenues a year. The forest industry also contributes around 2.8 percent of GDP.
Domestically, the industry directly employs some 20,000 people.
And the industry has a clear role to play in sustainable land management and erosion control, recreation and tourism,
and of course construction.
These facts will be well known to many of you here. But they are facts that need to be continually presented to other
The reason we are gathered here tonight is to launch to NZ Wood Design Advisory Centre.
By demonstrating the possibilities offered by modern wood construction technologies, this facility showcases the use of
wood as an option for property developers, owners, engineers and architects.
It is certainly great to see how the Centre is bringing together private engineering consultancies, specialists,
universities and the Structural Timber Innovation Company.
It is important that consumers have choice so there will always be room in the construction market for timber, steel and
However, timber is unique as a construction material possessing benefits that other products can’t claim.
The fact that timber is a lighter and a more environmentally-friendly building material is an absolute given.
Wood is sustainable, renewable and very energy efficient. It requires a tenth or less of the energy needed to make
alternatives such as steel and concrete.
And the impressive fact I picked up when I last visited the STIC project was the considerable savings in construction
costs that timber was able to deliver.
There are a number of people and initiatives that over the years have been raising the profile of wood which deserve
Work into fire safety, earthquake resistance, durability and sustainability, led by Professor Buchanan from Canterbury
University and Professor Pierre Quenneville of the University of Auckland tangibly present the huge potential that
timber has for multiple storey buildings.
These two professors have delivered a step-up in the teaching and research of timber structural design.
The benefit for New Zealand will be a substantial increase in the use of timber for structures and is likely to result
in greater capability coming into the industry.
The Government-supported Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology building is due for completion early next year.
The building itself is a world first for both innovative use of wood in the structure of multi-storied buildings and
incorporates new generation earthquake-resistant engineering technology.
And as a Canterbury resident, I suddenly became more focused on earthquake resistance on September 4 this year.
This advisory centre couldn’t come at a more important time for both your industry and Canterbury. The Canterbury
earthquake was a source of devastation but presents opportunity.
The rebuild will offer the potential to further explore the opportunities for timber construction.
Your wood advisory centre will play an important role here in working alongside the design community, the construction
industry, and owners who are rebuilding, to help them recognise the unique qualities of timber and to seriously consider
timber as an option.
I'd like nothing more than to see a significant amount of timber used in Christchurch's rebuilding programme.
Again, congratulations on the launch of this project. I look forward to this initiative building on the strengths and
the attributes of wood.