Frequently Asked Questions
I’m only a small grower. Why should I pay the levy?
The levy benefits all plantation forestry growers in New Zealand, big and small. The levy funds research into all sorts of things that could harm forests or foresters. For example, forest fires, pest control and health and safety. Large and small forest owners stand to benefit from the forest levy. The forestry industry is worth more than $6 billion in exports each year to New Zealand’s economy. It’s only fair that people in the industry pay their fair collective towards developing their own industry where collective activity is more feasible than an individual effort.
Why doesn’t the government just pay for all the research?
Many of the projects funded by the levy are co-funded from other sources such as the government. This means that the levy can be a powerful tool for funding research and other work needed by the forestry industry. It’s important that the forestry industry has the levy so it can direct the funding towards the initiatives that it knows will make a difference to both large and small forestry interests. The government also puts money into forestry through initiatives such as Primary Growth Partnership funding, in conjunction with the Ministry for Primary Industries. But to access the funds requires industry funding. As a critically important industry for New Zealand, we have a responsibility to manage our own development as an industry, and to ensure our collective expertise is heard in deciding what research is needed.
When do I vote?
There will be a ballot in March/April this year. This gives plenty of time for you to learn more about the levy and how it benefits you before you cast your vote.
I’m only a small grower. How does my voice count against all the big forestry companies?
Everybody’s voice counts. The levy vote was set up to make sure that it was fair to big growers and small players. The vote can’t be swayed by a few large forest owners, or by a large number of small growers who have very few trees overall. The result of the vote has to be a majority of the votes cast in favour, and as well those votes have to represent a majority of the volume of forests owned by those voters.
How do I know if I can vote?
If you are the owner of a forest of at least 4 hectares and you plan to harvest your trees with in the lifespan of the next levy – from 2020 to 2025, then you can vote.
Why should I vote for a levy when I don’t get any say in how it’s spent?
You do have a say. You can put your views forward through the Forest Owners Association or the Farm Forestry Association. In November 2018 Colmar Brunton conducted a survey of forest owners about what they thought of the value of the levy to them and the industry. Results will be reported soon.
Tell the Forest Growers Levy Trust how you think your levy funding should be spent. Every year the Trust puts out a call for proposals for projects to receive levy funding. Anyone can apply.