Standards New Zealand recently held a Timber Standards workshop in Auckland to confirm industry interest and involvement in international timber standardisation, establish industry and government priorities within the international Standards arena and outline a specific Standards work programme that adequately addresses the needs of the timber industry and relevant government agencies.
Industry and government representatives attended the workshop. Speakers included Timber Producers’ Association acting chief executive Tony Johnston, Standards New Zealand chief executive Rob Steele and Construction Industry Council chairman John Pfahlert.
International Standards play an increasingly important part in removing technical barriers and facilitating international trade. The New Zealand government recognises the importance of international standardisation in improving New Zealand’s ability to gain access for its timber products to global markets.
To support trade access for New Zealand timber exporters the Government has made up to $100,000 available annually for the next five years to support New Zealand involvement in international standardisation for timber.
This funding is conditional upon a matching 25% industry contribution. Workshop attendees were keen to link international standards development into the overall timber standards New Zealand framework.
To facilitate this, industry representatives and Standards New Zealand agreed to hold regular timber industry meetings to review issues and provide input into standards development. The first meeting to establish this forum was held late last year.
This group will also discuss allocation of the available funds to support international timber standards as part of its overall review of the New Zealand Standards framework. “Timber and timber products are a key export earner for New Zealand,” according to Mr Steele.
“With an expanding harvest over coming years, the need to not only maintain our existing export markets, but also to access new markets, is critical. “If we are involved in the development of international Standards we can ensure that our timber species are included, thus facilitating access to export markets.
“If we don’t participate there is a very real danger that the international Standards developed will not recognise New Zealand timber species adequately and, therefore, we will be unable to export to countries that require compliance with international Standards.”