NZ Gov Beefs Up Forest Slash Rules as Multi-Party Takes Office

Christopher Luxon will have two separate Deputy Prime Ministers with Winston Peters (Foreign Affairs Minister) and David Seymour (Minister for Regulation) will serve during two separate terms.

Fri 24 Nov 23


Todd McClay has been appointed New Zealand’s new agriculture minister as part of a beefed-up portfolio that includes forestry, hunting, fishing, and minister for trade.

The announcement came this morning after NZ PM Christopher Luxon announced a historic three-party coalition government, including NZ National Party (the senior partner) along with ACT and NZ First.

Under the terms of the deal, New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters will be Prime Minister Luxon’s Deputy Prime Minister for the first half of the three-year Parliamentary term, with ACT Leader David Seymour to follow as Deputy Prime Minister for the second half.

Mr Peters will be Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Mr Seymour Minister for Regulation, whilst the 20-strong Cabinet will have 14 National Ministers, three ACT Ministers and three New Zealand First Ministers.

According to PM Luxon, “I said on election night that we would be a government that would deliver for every New Zealander, regardless of who we are, where we are and whatever our life circumstances.”

“New Zealanders have put their trust in us. In return, we trust New Zealanders. We believe in this country. We are ambitious for it. We know that New Zealanders can make this an even better country with the right leadership, policies, and direction.” 

Todd McClay and Christopher Luxon at Fieldays 2023. (Photo Credit: RNZ / Angus Dreaver)

While McClay doesn’t come from a farming background, the Rotorua MP of more than 15 years will be supported by three associate ministers of agriculture – National’s Selwyn MP Nicola Grigg, who will focus on horticulture, ACT’s Andrew Hoggard on animal welfare and skills and also New Zealand First’s Mark Patterson.

Patterson, a sheep and beef farmer in Otago and a former Federated Farmers Otago provincial chairperson will also be the minister for rural communities. Hoggard, a Rangitikei dairy farmer and the former Federated Farmers president will also hold Food Safety and Biosecurity.

The three-party coalition announced several policy commitments in its documents released on Friday morning, including: 

  • The current review of the Emissions Trading Scheme will be halted, and more significant duties will be put on forestry harvesters to contain and remove post-harvest slash.
  • Farm environment plans will be improved, regulatory blocks on irrigation are set to go, and freshwater management will become more localised with the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020 planned to be replaced.
  • For immigration, the cap on Recognised Seasonal Employer workers will be increased, and the Accredited Employer Work Visa is said to be improved.
  • Implementing Significant Natural Areas resulting from the Resource Management Act will not proceed.
  • Genetic engineering laws will be “liberalised.”

Last month, Wood Central revealed that the incoming Luxon government will look to reduce “red tape” to drive the country’s building and construction industry.

With the election of PM Luxon, attention now turns to National’s “Better Building and Construction Policy,” which proposed a boost in funding for the Building Research Association of New Zealand (BRANZ) to drive greater sustainability in the built environment.

As revealed in National’s manifesto, “Breaking the Barriers to Building and Construction,” the new government claimed that regulations governing construction materials “are too rigid” and lead to a breakdown in the supply chain.

It claimed that building materials and product systems that meet international standards at least equivalent to New Zealand “will be approved for use.”

In addition, it also said that current rules have led to high market concentrations of certain building products, with a lack of competition driving higher prices.

Crucially, “this includes American, European, British and Australian standards,” with “MBIE notified of all newly imported building materials for approval.”

Wood Central understands that the policy could lead to more standards that meet ISO requirements or equivalent, being approved as part of the government’s push to keep material costs down and stimulate growth.

According to an anonymous source connected to the timber industry, timber framing has been up to 80% more expensive in New Zealand than Australia due to a lack of competitiveness.


  • Jason Ross

    Jason Ross, publisher, is a 15-year professional in building and construction, connecting with more than 400 specifiers. A Gottstein Fellowship recipient, he is passionate about growing the market for wood-based information. Jason is Wood Central's in-house emcee and is available for corporate host and MC services.


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