Around 11,000 people whose working visas are set to expire over the 2020/21 season have been granted a new visa.
“The Bill, as it currently stands, has the potential to inflict excessive, burdensome regulation and compliance costs on a forestry industry getting back off the canvas. We will be expecting major changes from the Select Committee process,” Muller says.
“National only supported the Bill to Select Committee because we agree with the intention of strengthening the forestry supply chain through increased transparency.”
Muller says the forestry industry worked tirelessly to improve management, safety and stewardship practices in light of COVID-19.
“It is appalling that they didn’t even see a copy of the Bill before it was taken to Parliament. Legislation like this shouldn’t be rushed. It needs to be worked through with those it affects most.”
He says National will be pushing for more engagement with the industry and asking for changes that make sure regulatory changes don’t place unnecessary burdens on businesses.
“The Minister needs to explain why the Bill is being pushed through so quickly and why there has been no consultation,” Muller adds.
“Forestry is a significant contributor to our economy and we should be encouraging forestry businesses to grow. Not constraining them with burdensome costs and regulations.”