thelevy v2 ScaleWidthWzY0MF0Information on this page is from the levy vote 2019 and is for reference from this period of time.  Information provided is not updated and was current as at January 2019.

The Levy

If you own a forest, you’ll pay the levy when you harvest your wood.

Everybody harvesting their trees pays 27 cents in levy for every tonne of wood when it is sold. This raises about $9 million per year. The money is spent on projects to support New Zealand’s forest industry, such as research, promotion, biosecurity and health and safety.

Forest growers voted in 2013 for all forest growers to contribute to a fund that would support the growing forest industry.

All forest owners pay the levy regardless of the size of their forest because they all benefit from the activities which the levy funds.


The 2019 Levy Vote

Have your say on how your levy is spent.

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The levy started in 2014 and was set for six years. Forest growers are now voting to renew the levy for another six years from late 2019 to 2025.

The levy proposal includes increasing the maximum levy rate by 3 cents from 30 cents to 33 cents per tonne. The board of the Forest Growers Levy Trust has also provided to reduce the lowest levy rate option from 27 cents to 24 cents.

Levy investment in the Work Programme in 2018 was $8.2m and is budgeted for $8.8m this year.

The levy vote is balanced so it is fair to small and large scale forest owners. It relies on both so the number of votes cast and the area of forested area to both be in a majority for the levy to come into effect.

If you are a forest owner and you are able to harvest trees before the end of 2025 then you are eligible to vote now.

Read these fact sheets to find out more about the levy vote:


Listening to Foresters

P1040843 v2 ScaleWidthWzY0MF0The Forest Growers Levy Trust publishes a plan every year so everybody can see how their levy money is being spent and see where the benefits are. The biggest chunk of the money goes on research because it’s so important to the future of New Zealand’s forestry.

The Forest Growers Levy Trust includes four representatives of the larger forest enterprises, which represent more than two thirds of current forest production. There are two representatives of small scale forest owners. And there is an independent chair. Representation of medium sized forest owners as a separate category is being considered.

These Trust members all receive feedback on the Levy Work Programme which they approve each year.

The Levy Trust holds an annual meeting and any forest owner is welcome to attend.


“I was sceptical of the levy when it first came in five years ago, but I’m a strong supporter of it now". Julian Bateson, Chair, Wellington Branch Farm Forestry Association


Track record of forest levy - in good stead for the vote

Read this article by Don Carson in Tree Grower

Small foresters to be involved in research

Stuart Orme believes the levy has given small foresters the opportunity to be involved in research that benefits the whole industry.
Watch here...

Levy benefits small and large growers

Michael Higgins has a lifetime’s experience in forestry. Hear why he supports the levy. 
Watch here...

Levy good for the whole industry

The way the forest levy was structured to ensure it would benefit both small and large forest growers was one of the reasons why Grant Robertson supported it from its inception. 

Watch here...

Direct benefits for small foresters

Fire prevention and management, forest safety and the environment are areas that have benefited from the investment of levy funds, according to small-scale forester Don Wallace. 
Watch here...

Levy maintains reputation of forestry

Money raised from the levy has been invested in promoting forestry as an industry. Neil Cullen believes the levy has helped to maintain the reputation of foresters. 
Watch here...

Levy is key to the future of forestry

Geoff Thompson has chaired the Forest Growers Levy Trust since the levy was introduced. He believes the levy funds play a crucial role in securing the future of the forestry industry. 


The Levy at Work

Forest Levy Diagram ScaleWidthWzY0MF0The biggest slice of the Levy income goes on research because it’s so important for the future of New Zealand’s forestry. Research includes such things as studying pests and diseases which already harming our forests, or which are not yet in New Zealand, but would do damage if they did arrive.

It also includes working out better ways to fight forest fires, or making tree seedlings more sturdy.

The second biggest portion of the levy spend is on biosecurity to ensure forests stay healthy.


Forestry Screening Series

Catch up with the new series about forestry screening on Face TV.

Watch here...

Forest Call: Giving seedlings the best chance to grow

Less is proving to be more. Helping tree seedlings get a good start with a dose of both fungicide and fertiliser used to be standard treatment. But Levy funded research on the effects of both showed that dosing was having a negative effect on soil...

Watch here...

Forest Call: Pheromones used in fight against pests

At Scion in Christchurch, Levy funds are supporting a pest incursion fighting tool which ties together advanced technology with the incredible sensitivity of moths to pheromones. It means putting a male moth into a machine.

Watch here...

Forest Call: Drones are new tool for monitoring plantations

Plantation forests were made for remote surveillance and all the technology which goes with it. A combination of drones and computer modelling has enabled scientists at Scion to access Levy funds to search thousands of hectares of forests for the...

Watch here...

Forest Call: Matching nutrients to needs to forests

NuBalM is being developed by the forest industry to better understand how nutrients, in particular nitrogen, move through forest soils and trees. This technology-based modelling is funded through the Levy investment. NuBalM is a collection of measuring...

Watch here...

Forest Call: Safer, more productive steep-land harvesting

A seven-year Primary Growth Partnership project to mechanise steep-land harvesting has recently concluded.
The project aimed to increase both productivity and safety on our tree harvesting slopes.

Watch here...


Forest Call: Technology will change forest harvesting

Remote and robotic technology will play an increasingly important role in forestry’s future. While current harvesting practices are constantly being improved to increase safety and productivity and lessen the impact on the forest floor...

Watch here...


Frequently Asked Questions

Get the answers here.


Talk to us

Thank you to everybody who came to a meeting or logged on to a webinar at the end of last year. It was great to get your feedback. We're writing up everybody's comments and will report back to the Forest Growers Levy Trust Board. 

Thank you also to everyone who participated in the Colmar Brunton survey at the end of last year. The feedback has been invaluable and will be considered by the Levy Trust Board.

Colmar Brunton Survey Report      

We contacted everyone we knew who had a forest. The feedback reflects widespread support for the levy. The comments on how the levy investment could be more relevant for small scale foresters in particular will be closely considered by the Board. Read here...


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