New minister welcomes industry co-ordination

In a message following her appointment to a role previously held by current Primary Industries Minister Hon Nathan Guy, she says she is pleased to see the industry recognising the need for coordinated efforts. She cites as examples of this, the New Zealand Forest and Wood Products Industry Strategic Action Plan and the referendum on the proposed Forest Growers Levy.

Introducing herself, she says she was born in Temuka and grew up on a local sheep and cropping farm. Her husband, Mark, is a dentist in Timaru and their three young adult daughters are all currently studying at Otago University.

"Professionally, I trained at Timaru Hospital and qualified as a registered nurse in 1982. Also in the 1980s, I represented Young Farmers Clubs on exchange to Australia, and was one of two New Zealand exchangees to the UK in 1984.

"Early in my career I practised in New Zealand and in London in both hospitals and general practice, and I gained a Bachelor of Nursing degree in 1995. Immediately prior to campaigning for the Aoraki seat I was employed as a coordinator for the Timaru Safer Community Council.

"I was elected to Parliament as the MP for Aoraki in 2005 and, following boundary revisions, MP for Rangitata in 2008. I was Junior Whip for the National-led government in our first term, and then I was appointed as a Minister following the 2011 election with the Women's Affairs, Community and Voluntary Sector, Senior Citizens and Associate Health portfolios.

"Then in January this year I was also given the opportunity to add Associate Primary Industries to my other four portfolios. I was very excited to accept this responsibility. Representing a rural electorate, I have actively followed and engaged in primary sector issues throughout my time in Parliament, for example around water reform, irrigation, biosecurity and the dairy industry. I also have responsibility for rural health issues under my Associate Health portfolio.

"I see forestry as vital to a thriving export-driven economy. The forestry industry is already one of our largest commercial sectors, with aggregated value chain sales within New Zealand estimated at $11 billion per year, and export earnings of $4.5 billion per year. The industry also directly employs more than 25,000 people, mainly in rural and provincial areas.

"A clear challenge, however, is to add value to what we export. Last year, nearly 50 per cent of the 25 million cubic metres harvested left New Zealand as logs with no value-added processing.

"The Government's goal is to help your industry grow by developing a more competitive and productive economy, and negotiating further trade agreements. We are also supporting science and innovation in forestry through direct funding of Crown Research Institutes and partnerships with industry, such as the Primary Growth Partnership.

"I'm pleased to see the industry recognising the need for coordinated efforts, for example with the release of the New Zealand Forest and Wood Products Industry Strategic Action Plan and the referendum on the proposed Forest Growers Levy.

"At the end of the day, the ball is in your court. It's up to the forestry industry to make the most of these opportunities. I look forward to working with you all to ensure forestry maintains and improves its position as one of New Zealand's key industries."

Source: Statement supplied by Hon Jo Goodhew

 

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