11 March 2011The 2011 International Year of Forests was launched last night at Parliament by minister of forestry David Carter and Woodco chair Doug Ducker. "New Zealand's forests are an integral part of our country, economically, socially, and recreationally," said Mr Ducker.
"Over 20,000 New Zealanders are directly employed in forests and wood, often in some of the most underemployed and underprivileged parts of the country. New Zealanders are housed in wood, the most environmentally sustainable and reliable buildings available. And forests are worth over $4 billion every year to this country."
Both Mr Ducker and Minister Carter looked to see wood used extensively in the rebuild of Christchurch, as a material with impeccable earthquake-proofing credentials.
"I'd like to see a significant amount of timber used in the rebuilding programme – any observer of Christchurch will see that many timber structures have survived. Older stone and brick have not," said Minister Carter in his speech.
The International Year of Forests will see a programme of events taking place throughout the year, with groups throughout the sector involved.
The IYF steering committee consists of the New Zealand Institute of Forestry, Wood Processors' Association, Forest Owners Association, SCION, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and the Department of Conservation. The lead sponsor is NZ Wood.
The full text of the Minister's speech is available here.Source: Woodco media release