Forestry Minister, Stuart Nash says a new partnership between the Government and Oji Fibre Solutions could boost the development of New Zealand’s sustainable wood products, hydrogen and bio-fuels, while creating jobs and reducing emissions.
The Minister said Oji Fibre Solutions was a world leader in pulp, paper and packaging products, with its Kinleith Mill near Tokoroa employing more than 500 people.
“In order to build a low-emissions, high-wage economy, we need to explore innovative and sustainable solutions across all sectors. In the wood processing sector, there is the opportunity to integrate bio-manufacturing, which means producing bio-energy and high value bio-chemicals through the development of an advanced bio-economy manufacturing cluster,” Mr Nash said.
“This joint feasibility study is the perfect opportunity to think differently about the way we process wood in New Zealand, to tap into the bio-economy, and harness the valuable by-products of wood fibre.”
He said the study would investigate how New Zealand can make high-value and sustainable bio-products from wood.
“This could create high-wage, highly-skilled jobs as well as unlocking regional economic opportunities and ultimately building a productive, sustainable and inclusive bio-economy,” the Minister said.
“This partnership is one of the first tangible actions from the draft Forestry and Wood Processing Industry Transformation Plan I launched in August. A key focus of the Plan is how to add value to the forestry sector by processing logs domestically rather than sending them off-shore for other countries to extract value.
“The forestry and wood processing sector has significant growth potential, and innovative ways of thinking like this study will help will help the sector decarbonise, support local job creation and drive the circular economy,” Mr Nash said.