[4 October/ Radio New Zealand]

The Forest Owners Association said foreign investment in forestry is essential and New Zealand could never afford to buy back all the forests it has sold. New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said the future of forestry and timber supplies for local mills is a New Zealand priority as it enters coalition talks. Mr Peters wanted the next government to protect wood supply to domestic mills by creating a Forest Service. New Zealand Forest Owners’ Association President Peter Clark said commercial forestry is a large industry, with $25 billion to $30bn invested in plantations. Mr Clark acknowledged the importance of foreign investment in the sector and said more government interest is necessary, as well as new plantings.