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Feedback from Wood Matters Readers

Thanks to all those that make the effort to provide feedback via the "For comment on this article …" link at the end of each article. The comments are not all "bouquets" and the Emissions Trading Scheme especially brings out some "brick bats". Our editorial philosophy, however, on the journey to the truth is to take the path of engagement and deliberation, so we appreciate the feedback in all its forms.

Thanks to Mike Carson of Forest Genetics Ltd for his comments coming back after issue 39 of Wood Matters: "I find Wood Matters to be the most informative and easiest to read of the more than half-dozen forestry e-newsletters that I subscribe to, and these articles of Peter's [Clarky's Comment] are of real benefit to our sector."

Craig Taylor from Fifth Estate had a valuable comment to make on Clarky's Comment in issue 39 of Wood Matters as well: "Clarky misses an important point in his comment on the lack of value adding in the NZ forest industry. In NZ often more than 50% of the delivered cost (to mill or wharf) is in harvest and haulage. This is a massive part of the NZ industry with high rates of investment and employment. There are many entrepreneurial family based businesses that have undertaken investment risk in the provision of harvest and haul "value adding". This sector is often ignored in talk of value adding."

To build on Craig's thoughts, the Editor of Wood Matters has this to add:

Few would argue that more domestic processing of logs would be highly preferable to log exports. It's the "how to get there" that is contentious. The presence of an open market for radiata logs (be that for export of logs or supply to local mills), results in a market price for the logs (note the trees are grown by paying market costs for inputs of land, tree stocks and silviculture). This means the maximum volume of logs will be harvested and taken to market. [If prices are too low there are forests that won't get harvested.] This means the maximum amount of economic activity/"value adding" (harvesting, cartage, port services etc.) and the maximum amount of investment in forestry. Restricting log exports as a means of boosting the domestic processing industry would reduce net wealth generation. Lower log prices would reduce the economic return from forest growing which would ultimately lower the supply of logs to the expanded domestic processing industry (and likely cause a massive price increase through scarcity).