7.4.a Programmes, services and other resources supporting the sustainable management of forests


This indicator provides information on the capacity of both government and private organisations to deliver programmes and services to maintain and develop infrastructure and to access the financial and human resources necessary to support the sustainable management of forests.

Current state

A range of programmes and services exist that support infrastructure, financial and human resources.


New Zealand has physical infrastructure networks to support a broad range of activities, including the forest industry. Trucks transport 92 percent of New Zealand’s total freight by weight, with 6 percent going by rail and 2 percent by coastal shipping. There are 91 000 kilometres of roads, 4000 kilometres of rail track, a number of sea ports (including 13 that import or export forest products), 28 regional and seven international airports. In the energy sector, most electricity is from renewable sources, including hydro, geothermal, wind and wood residues. The importance and capacity of the telecommunications sector continue to grow.

In general, the transport infrastructure is well developed and able to meet current demands. There are some issues and specific localities where economic and population growth place pressure on aspects of the infrastructure.

The Government published the National Infrastructure Plan 2011 to ensure that New Zealand has the infrastructure to support economic growth. The Plan has a 20-year vision and a programme of work led by the National Infrastructure Unit (based within The Treasury). The Unit releases an annual National State of Infrastructure Report outlining progress in implementing the Plan and looking at the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead

Road infrastructure

Central and local government fund and operate the public road network, which is the largest capital investment in New Zealand’s transport system.

The 2012–15 National Land Transport Programme is a planning and investment partnership between the New Zealand Transport Agency and local authorities, giving effect to the Government’s transport priorities. The Programme involves $12.28 billion of investment in the country’s land transport system over the three- year period.

New Zealand has an extensive roading network, with a total length of 90 783 kilometres of formed road. Major roads, known as state highways, and local authority roads (the secondary network) each account for about 18 billion vehicle kilometres per year.

It has been estimated that the movement of forestry goods within New Zealand totalled 37.3 million tonnes of logs and timber products in 2012. When average transport distances are taken into account, the movement of logs and wood products in New Zealand accounted for 4.6 billion tonne-kilometres. This is 18 percent of total road tonne-kilometres, and well ahead of other commodity groups. Milk and dairy products accounted for 2.5 billion tonne-kilometres in the same year. The capacity of some local authorities to meet requirements from increases in harvested wood volumes will present a challenge in the future.

In 2010, the Government allowed heavier (greater than 44 tonnes gross mass) and longer (exceeding 20 or 22 metres) vehicles to operate over selected routes subject to specified conditions. Trials indicated that productivity could increase by 10 percent to 20 percent, trip numbers could reduce by 16 percent and fuel use by 20 percent. This is an important initiative for the transportation of logs, but infrastructure issues, particularly bridge strength, have limited route availability for the use of these high productivity motor vehicles.

Another initiative, 50MAX, is a new generation of 50-tonne vehicles that have one more axle (nine) than conventional 44-tonne vehicles, spreading the load and resulting in no additional wear on roads per tonne of freight.

Rail infrastructure

Railway infrastructure in New Zealand includes about 4000 kilometres of narrow-gauge track. While rail only transports a small proportion of New Zealand’s freight (6 percent by weight and 15 percent by tonne per kilometres), the freight load is predicted to double by 2040.

Logs, pulp, sawn timber and panel products are carried by rail to domestic destinations and export ports. Most pulp and paper is hauled by rail, but trucks dominate the market for hauling logs, lumber and wood chips. The limited transport distances and double-handling requirements constrain the use of rail in many regions.

The Government purchased the assets of the national rail operator in 2008, with the national rail system now operated by KiwiRail (a state-owned enterprise). The Government’s main rail focus is the KiwiRail Turnaround Plan, which seeks to make KiwiRail a financially sustainable rail freight business.

The Turnaround Plan requires $4.6 billion of investment over 10 years, most of which will come from KiwiRail’s cash flows. The Government has committed in principle $750 million for three years.

Sea port infrastructure

Sea ports move 99 percent by volume of New Zealand’s total exports. There are 13 commercial ports with significant volumes of forestry exports or imports. They are owned or majority owned by local government, with ownership in five ports partially privatised. Most forest product exporting ports are focusing on improving log storage and covered storage facilities for processed forest products.

In the year ended March 2014, 56 percent of New Zealand’s harvested logs were exported. This is a significant increase from 30 percent recorded for the year ended March 2008, and has been driven by strong demand for logs from China. Sawn timber, panel products and pulp and paper are also exported.

Central government’s focus is on improving public information on maritime and freight transport to support more informed decision-making. Initial work includes the Freight Information Gathering System, which will provide better information on international and domestic freight flows through New Zealand ports. The Government is also focusing on how port productivity can be improved.

Maritime New Zealand is the Crown entity with responsibilities for standards development, seafarer qualifications and licensing, oil spill prevention and response, search and rescue, inspection of ships, port and ship security, vessel safety, accident investigation and aids to navigation.

Energy infrastructure

New Zealand has over 200 power stations generating electricity, 18 natural gas fields, 18 oil fields and one oil refinery processing imported crude oil.

The New Zealand Energy Strategy 2011–2021 sets the strategic direction for the energy sector and the role energy will play in the New Zealand economy. It sets out four priority areas:

  • diverse resource development
  • environmental responsibility
  • efficient use of energy
  • secure and affordable energy.

The National Infrastructure Plan 2011 focuses on the infrastructure required to extract, store and distribute energy. In 2013 and 2014, the Government partially privatised three of the five major electricity generating companies; the two others are already privately owned.

New Zealand’s Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES) for use in the country has increased by an average of 1.9 percent per year since 2008. Oil accounts for 33 percent of the TPES, gas 21 percent and geothermal energy 19 percent.

Renewable energy made up 37 percent of the TPES in 2012, the third-highest contribution in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries. This results from the high levels of hydro and geothermal energy used for electricity generation. Woody biomass and geothermal are the major sources of direct-use heat, with the forest industry being the major user of woody biomass.

New Zealand generated 164 petajoules (PJs) of electricity in 2012 with 73 percent coming from renewable sources. A flat demand outlook means major new investment in electricity generation is not expected before 2020.

Financial services

Financial (or economic) services are provided by a broad range of organisations, including banks, credit card companies, finance companies, credit unions, insurance companies, accountancy companies, stock brokerages and investment funds.

Financial markets are regulated by the:

  • Financial Markets Authority which enforces securities, financial reporting and company law as they apply to financial services and securities markets, and regulates securities exchanges, financial advisers and brokers, trustees and issuers
  • Reserve Bank of New Zealand which holds prudential powers over the banking sector, including finance companies and credit unions.

The Serious Fraud Office is responsible for complex or serious fraud investigation and prosecutions.

The Commerce Commission is an independent Crown entity responsible for enforcing laws relating to competition, fair trading and consumer credit.

Human resources

Most forestry sector organisations recognise the importance of developing and maintaining a high level of education and skill in their workforces. Commercial forest industries face the challenge of balancing the retention of skilled staff and contractors with maintaining viability and reducing employment levels during periods of depressed demand for wood products.

Training includes formally structured, nationally recognised qualifications, in-house training programmes, and training for community-based organisations.

New Zealand Qualifications Authority

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority ensures that New Zealand qualifications are valued as credible and robust, both nationally and internationally.

The New Zealand Qualifications Framework involves 10 qualification levels that depend on the complexity of learning. The levels cover senior secondary school education, certificates, diplomas, Bachelor’s degrees, postgraduate diplomas and certificates, Master’s degrees and doctorates. Certificate courses cover a variety of topics relevant to the management of both the commercial planted forest and indigenous conservation forest estates.

University programmes

The New Zealand School of Forestry at the University of Canterbury offers the only professional forestry degree programmes in New Zealand. These are:

  • Bachelor of Forestry Science
  • Bachelor of Forest Engineering
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Forestry
  • Master of Forestry Science
  • Doctorate in Forestry.

Lincoln University also offers a range of forestry courses. Other universities provide undergraduate and postgraduate programmes associated with resource management, environmental sciences, sustainability and the environment, engineering and recreation, leisure and tourism.


The Department of Forestry and Resource Management at the Waiariki Institute of Technology is the largest vocational forestry training centre in New Zealand. It offers qualifications in:

  • forestry operations
  • forest management
  • wood manufacturing
  • occupational health and safety.

Two other polytechnics offer more restricted forestry training.

Workplace training

Competenz facilitates workplace training to build skills and add value to an organisation. It services a variety of industries and provides forest silviculture and harvesting training. (See Indicator 6.2.b.)

Health and safety

WorkSafe New Zealand is New Zealand’s health and safety regulator that works with employers, employees and others to:

  • educate about workplace health and safety responsibilities
  • engage in making changes that reduce the chances of harm
  • enhance workplace health and safety legislation.

The forest industry has an Approved Code of Practice for Safety and Health in Forest Operations, last updated in December 2012 by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. It is currently subject to further review.

The Health and Safety Reform Bill is currently before Parliament. When passed, it will replace the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992.

WorkSafe New Zealand has expressed concern about safety compliance and the high rates of injury and death in the New Zealand logging industry. A major safety review was announced in January 2014 by the forest industry in liaison with WorkSafe New Zealand. An independent panel is examining the health and safety structure and culture of the forest industry, and reviewing health and safety education and training.

In 2014, WorkSafe New Zealand also produced best practice guidelines on safe manual tree felling. (See also Indicator 6.3.b.)


New Zealand has well developed road, rail, port and energy infrastructure networks to support the forest industry. A National Infrastructure Plan, published in 2011, and the 2012–15 National Land Transport Programme provide strategies for continuing development of these services.

Financial services are provided by a range of organisations and are regulated by the Financial Markets Authority and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. The New Zealand Qualifications Authority ensures qualifications are robust.

Safety in forestry, particularly associated with harvesting, has become a prominent issue with a major review being undertaken in 2014 by WorkSafe New Zealand.

Trend Status

Data Quality H

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