A new national forestry standard introduced to better protect the environment has been accepted as "a positive step forward", Pan Pac managing director Doug Ducker says.

Announced earlier this week by Minister for the Environment Dr Nick Smith and Associate Minister for Primary Industries Louise Upston, the standard will roll out a set of rules for managing New Zealand's 1.7 million hectares of plantation forest in May next year.

While Mr Ducker said it was too early to realise the impacts the new standard would have on Pan Pac's operations, it was generally accepted as "a positive step forward in the interests of the industry, the environment and the community".

"The concept, in broad terms, is in agreement with our own direction to do things environmentally soundly in anything that we do with regard to our harvesting and forestry management."


Dr Smith noted a benefit of the new standard was that it related to environmental risk as opposed to which particular council a forestry operation existed in.

With 80 per cent of forest owners managing forests in multiple council areas, Ms Upston said the forestry industry would benefit from having a set of consistent regulations to operate under.

Running forest operations in Wairoa District Council, Hastings District Council, Napier City Council and Central Hawke's Bay District Council territorial authorities, Mr Ducker said Pan Pac already had myriad standards and criteria.

"A stabilisation of that can be for the better but the caution provided is that it's also manageable and that's the bit we haven't had a change to reflect on,

"We would see it to be positive in the context of generating alignment between all parties."

Mr Ducker said the need to "radically manage" forestry operations to protect the environmental was an industry feature that did not exist with the same significance 20 years ago.

"We're having to respond to this as a company both in the light of being a forest owner and the harvesting, carting and subsequent processing. The environmental standards are being honed all the time and this is really just part of that process."

He said despite the new standard coming with its commercial pressures, the end result would be for the betterment of all parties involved whether they be industry, council, iwi or community groups.