Conference Speakers

Nigel Brunel
Director, Financial Markets, OMF

Nigel Brunel is Director, Financial Markets at OMF. OMF is a leading carbon broker and member of the NZX. Nigel is one of the original OMF team, joining the firm in 1986.

Nigel has considerable experience and understanding of the financial markets with particular emphasis on renewable energy, commodity, dairy and equity futures markets. He is also a prominent figure in the NZ carbon and dairy markets.

In 1996, Nigel relocated to UBS Warburg in Sydney to manage the Equity Derivative division, and in 1998, he set up his own trading company which he ran for 9 successful years before returning to OMF in 2007.

Nigel frequently travels throughout Asia and NZ, conducting presentations that educate and advise corporates involved in Emissions Trading Schemes and the dairy markets.

His Worship the Mayor Malcolm Campbell
Kawerau District Council, New Zealand

Malcolm Campbell is the Mayor of Kawerau. He moved to Kawerau in 1956, where he attended primary and secondary school. He completed a four year retail meat apprenticeship and in 1975 became self-employed as Campbells Meats, Kawerau which he still owns and runs today.

Malcolm has served on Council for 21 years, with 15 years as Mayor. He works closely with industries, Iwi, local and regional Council partners to ensure good infrastructure and policies make Kawerau a desirable district to invest, live, work and play.

He is the current Chair of Mayors Taskforce representing 67 Councils in New Zealand working towards young people being employed throughout the country.

“I continue to lead a strong and prudent council, focussing on economic development, creating employment, health services, event marketing, senior and youth development, healthy homes and housing improvements. Council will continue to promote Kawerau in a positive way and strive to remain independent and hold on to our highly regarded position in the Bay of Plenty across local and central government”

Gary Caulfield
CEO, Xlam, Nelson, New Zealand

Gary Caulfield has over 30 years experience in the commercial construction industry, across the UK, Europe, Middle East, Australia and New Zealand. The last 12 having been based in New Zealand working within the pre-fabrication sector. As past Chair of PrefabNZ, Gary has been involved in the majority of NZ’s pre-fabrication projects.


XLam is the first manufacturer of cross laminated timber in the Southern Hemisphere. XLam’s vision is to be the leading provider of sustainable solutions for commercial and residential construction throughout New Zealand, Australia and beyond, focusing on the use of branded CLT and derivative products.


At the time of first production in Nelson, 2012 (as now), acute housing shortages combined with the need for better building quality, faster construction, safer sites and more sustainable building solutions suggested the time was right for CLT down under. Since 2012 when production commenced, XLam has experienced rapid growth.

XLam’s second CLT plant, the most technologically advanced CLT facility in the world opened in Albury / Wadonga in March 2018 as planned, with commercial production now underway.

David Farrar
Director, Curia Market Research, New Zealand

David Farrar is the owner and Director of Curia Market Research, a specialist opinion polling and research agency which he founded in 2004.  

David is also well known as the Editor of the popular Kiwiblog which started in 2003. Kiwiblog receives around 500,000 visits a month.

David previously worked in the NZ Parliament for eight years, serving two National Party Prime Ministers and three Opposition Leaders.

David is also a former Vice-President of InternetNZ, and chaired its policy committee for over a decade. He is also a former Director of the .nz registry company and is the current Chairman of the .nz domain name commission, which sets polices for and regulates the .nz name space.

In 2013 he co-founded the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union and serves on its board.

Chris Fowler
Partner, Adderley Head, Environmental Law Specialists, Christchurch, New Zealand

Chris Fowler is a senior environmental law specialist who has worked with the forestry sector for over 15 years.

During this time, Chris has guided forestry companies through a range of challenging regulatory and environmental issues to ensure that the sector retains a reasonable licence to operate. This includes hearings before local authorities and the Environment Court regarding water yield and water quality, wilding conifer control, indigenous biodiversity management, earthworks and financial contributions. This expertise was recently recognised when he was engaged by the Ministry for Primary Industries to provide an independent high-level review of the draft National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forestry.

Chris has presented numerous workshops regarding the implications of various planning instruments for the forestry sector and he is regularly invited to present guest lectures to students at the School of Forestry, University of Canterbury, on RMA and environmental compliance related topics.

Robert Green
CEO, Timberlands Limited, Rotorua, New Zealand

Formerly the CEO of VicForests (2011 - 2016) and Director for Sales and Contracting (2009 – 2011), Robert arrived at Timberlands with extensive experience in hardwood and softwood, plantation and natural forestry, as well as background in primary and secondary processing, import, export and distribution.

Prior to his time in Australia, Robert was a Divisional Manager for Snavely Forest Products in San Francisco, USA.

He started his career at CHH Wood Products, moved to CHH Forests, and then joined Thames Timber.

Robert holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Economics) with Honours, from the University of Otago.

Matthew Hooton
Political Commentator & Director of Exceltium, New Zealand

Matthew Hooton has over 25 years' experience in corporate and public-sector communications, including for the New Zealand Government and the country's most influential companies.

He began his career as a press secretary to the New Zealand trade, agriculture and deputy finance minister before consulting to PricewaterhouseCoopers business continuity team working on Y2K related projects, including the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, ANZ, Westpac, National Australia Bank and the New Zealand Treasury.

At 28, he played a lead role in the government relations and communications programmes that led to the creation of Fonterra, becoming the company's first head of communications, managing the announcements of all senior executives, the first election to the Board of Directors and announcements of new ventures with partners in Europe, North and South America and India.

Matthew has also led a wide range of government relations programmes including ones where government/industry partnerships were sought, such as with ZESPRI International, or where legislative change was sought as with the Kyoto Forestry Association.

Matthew is well known in political circles and by the public for his role as a political commentator on Radio New Zealand and as a columnist for the National Business Review and Metro magazine. He maintains strong relations with senior figures across the political spectrum. He has a Bachelor of Commerce in Economics from the University of Auckland.

Andres Katz
Director, Alphametrik, New Zealand

Andres Katz is the Director of Alphametrik, an independent consultancy specialising in the evaluation of forestry investments, acquisition and divestment, strategic planning and policy advice. He returned to Alphametrik after working as forest economist for Resource Management Service (RMS), a leading US based TIMO with forest investments in US South, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand. Most recently he managed RMS’ exports of Eucalypt logs and wood chips from Tasmania.

Andres has also held various roles in a large New Zealand forestry corporate, including responsibility for the market development and exports of logs into China, Southeast Asia, India and the Middle East. He also worked on various forestry projects in British Columbia, Chile, Argentina and Fiji.

Andres holds a Bachelor of Forestry Science degree from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, and a PhD in Forest Economics from Oregon State University.

Hon Todd McClay MP
Minister of Trade, New Zealand

Hon Todd McClay was first elected to Parliament in 2008.  In 2013 he was made a Minister and has held the positions of Minister of Revenue, Minister for State Owned Enterprises, Associate Minister of Health, Associate Minister of Tourism, Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs and Associate Minister of Trade.  In 2014 he was promoted to Cabinet and in 2015 he became Minister of Trade and retained the portfolio of Minister for State Owned Enterprises. 

Prior to entering Parliament, Mr McClay has had an extensive career in international business, politics and lobbying and in diplomacy.   In 2000, he was appointed the Cook Islands and Niue Ambassador to the European Union, serving these governments in Brussels.

Stuart Nash
Member of Parliament for Napier

Stuart Nash is the Member of Parliament for Napier. His portfolios include spokesperson for Police, Economic Development (including Regional Economic Development), and Forestry, and he also serves on the Law and Order, Commerce Committees.

Stuart holds a Master of Laws, Master of Management and a Master of Forestry Science.

Prior to his political career, which commenced on 2005, Stuart had various positions in and associated to the Foresty Industry including a time working forestry and agriculture in Shizouka, Japan, consulting to the Ministry of Forestry, and a 6-month stint writing forestry plans for farmers. He has also held positions with Fletcher Challenge, Carter Holt Harvey and been Director of Strategic Development at AUT University.

Stuart is the great grandson of former Labour Prime Minister and long serving MP Sir Walter Nash. He stood for Labour in Epsom in 2005. In 2008 he entered parliament on the Labour list and based himself as Labour’s representative in Napier. After a three year absence, he returned to parliament in 2014 as the Labour elected member for the electorate of Napier.

Dennis Neilson
Director, DANA (NZ) Ltd, New Zealand

Dennis is a Director of the New Zealand based forest industry advisory, publishing and conference and industry tour organising company, DANA (NZ) Limited.

Dennis has had previous experience in almost all aspects of the forestry and forest products sector working for Fletcher Challenge, and regularly travels to several overseas countries to update his information base on the industry. He has been a Director of TIMO, a eucalyptus plantation- owning company, and a wood export company.

Dennis has been the author/co-author of eleven editions of the New Zealand Forest Industry Sector Review, the most recent published in 2018. He co-authored the 2017 Global Tree Farm Review published by Boston based RISI. Most recently Dennis co-authored a Special Market Analysis Study entitled “Russian Timber: A Growing Force in World Trade” which was published by Fastmarkets RISI in early 2019.

In 2018 Dennis and DANA (NZ) Ltd planned and organised Conferences and Field Trips in Taupo, New Zealand; Launceston, Australia; Villahermosa and Cancun, Mexico; and a co-organised Conference with RISI in New York City; as well as an Industry Tour to China.

2019 – 2020 DANA Events include a co-organised 3- event week with Fastmarkets RISI in the United Kingdom; a Forestry & Agri-Business Investors Tour to Ecuador; Industry Tours in Japan; and Conference and Field Trips in Brisbane, Australia; Shanghai, China; Helsinki, Finland (a Russian Forest Industry Event); Gisborne, New Zealand; and Durban, South Africa.

Eugenie Sage
Green MP and the Green Party Spokesperson for Primary Industries

Eugenie Sage is a Green MP and the Green Party Spokesperson for Primary Industries, Environment, Christchurch and Land Information. She is a member of the Local Government and Environment select committee.

Before entering Parliament in 2011 Eugenie was a regional councillor with Environment Canterbury Regional Council until April 2010 when Government removed elected councillors.

Eugenie worked for Forest and Bird for 13 years and played a key role in the Society’s campaigns to protect West Coast forests and the South Island high country, and its RMA advocacy to protect indigenous biodiversity.

Eugenie has degrees in law and history and a diploma in journalism.

Geoff Simmons
Deputy Leader, TOP Party & Candidate for Wellington Central

Geoff Simmons grew up in Okaihau (Far North) and West Auckland, before moving to Wellington for work. He now lives in Mt Cook, Wellington.

Geoff holds an economics degree from Auckland University and has worked as a Senior Analyst at the New Zealand Treasury and Manager in the UK Civil Service, before becoming General Manager of the Morgan Foundation. He has co-authored four books alongside Gareth Morgan investigating a breadth of topics that are significant to the prosperity and well-being of New Zealanders, including health, what we eat, Antarctica and fishing. Geoff’s career also spans training, performance and facilitation, as well as running his own business.

Like Gareth, Geoff has seen that the solutions to Aotearoa New Zealand's problems are actually fairly simple; all we need is the political will to do the things that are needed. Geoff is particularly passionate about leaving the environment in better shape than the way we found it, after all without our environment we wouldn't have people. He know’s we can improve our rivers and cut pollution while having a vibrant, resilient economy at the same time.

Fletcher Tabuteau
New Zealand First List MP, Rotorua

Fletcher Tabuteau is currently a New Zealand First List MP and is based in Rotorua. He is the New Zealand First Spokesperson for Energy, Revenue, Trade, Commerce, Tourism and Finance. He also serves on the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee. 

Fletcher holds a DipBus BMS and whilst never wanting to become an accountant himself, one of Fletcher’s proudest moment in his Education Leadership career was his role in the CA accreditation of the Waiariki Institute of technology’s Business School. A long time academic, lecturing in Macro Economics and Strategic Marketing; Fletcher is still an accredited Registered NZ Business Mentor.

This is Fletcher’s first term as a Member of Parliament.

Hon Louise Upston MP
Associate Minister for Primary Industries, New Zealand

Louise Upston is the Member of Parliament for Taupō, a seat she has held since the General Election of 2008.

In December 2016, Louise became a Cabinet Minister and was appointed Minister of Corrections. She is also the Associate Minister of Education, Associate Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment and Associate Minister for Primary Industries with responsibilities fir Forestry. She previously held roles in Land Information, Local Government and Women. Before being appointed a Minister, Louise was Government Chief Whip for two years and was Junior Whip for one year.

Prior to entering Parliament in 2008, Louise was self-employed as a project management consultant. She also held directorships in a number of trusts and companies involved in property, tourism, management, and consulting. Louise holds an MBA from Waikato University.

Louise lives in Karapiro, south of Cambridge, with her three children. She enjoys participating in sporting events and has competed in the Round the Lake Relay, the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge, and the 63.3km challenge - three Taupo-based half marathons in three months. She is also co-captain of the Parliamentary netball team.

Marty Verry
CEO-Chair, Red Stag Group, Rotorua, New Zealand

Marty is the CEO and Chair of Red Stag group, a vertically integrated wood processing group based in Rotorua. The Red Stag group runs the Southern Hemisphere’s largest sawmill, as well as vertically integrated forest, frame and truss, pre-fabrication and property development businesses. A new Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) plant is also being commissioned for opening in 2019. 

The Red Stag Timber mill has doubled per employee productivity in the last decade and tripled annual production to 550,000m3, with 900,000 tonnes of logs. 2018 sees the site hit 600,000m3 production from 1 million tonnes of log input. 

Marty facilitates the industry-government working group to implement the coalition government’s wood first programme. His talk will cover the pathway Red Stag has taken and plans underway to make ‘Wood the Norm in Mid-Rise By 2030’ in New Zealand.

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