ROBERT H.M JOHNSTON
I have lived and farmed at “Ashley Gorge" all my life. Educated at Christ's College then went to Lincoln gaining a Dip VFM in 1961. Introduced to forestry at an early age by my father who had developed shelter systems and woodlots on the property. He took me into partnership in 1962. I assumed ownership in 1970. Highly regarded, "Ashley Gorge" has hosted three National Farm Forestry conferences over the years.
I have continued the programme of woodlot and shelter establishment during my period of ownership. Elected in 1973 to Meat & Wool Boards Electoral Committee,then NZ Wool Board, then appointed to the board of International Wool secretariat (IWS) in London, also the Executive of Wool Research at Lincoln.
This was a decade of experience in a governance role, setting and administering levies, governing the research activities both domestic and international, across 35 Northern hemisphere countries. I became well versed in critiquing programmes analyzing and setting budgets, and monitoring performance.
In 1998 I was elected to the Canterbury Regional Council (Ecan) and served 3 terms, retiring in 2007 as Deputy Chairman. I chaired many Council committees where my Wool industry experience was invaluable.
Since retiring, I am devoting more time to forestry, logging and replanting some of the mature stands, and establishing new blocks of Sequoia Sempervirens --- a special interest of mine. With my background in governance as described, I believe I am well qualified to represent the "small" forest owners on this important committee in its formative years. I have had vast experience in overseeing the wise and prudent allocation and spending of levy payer's money.
I retired from active farming in 2005, leasing the property, but retaining the forestry interest and rights. I am currently chairman of Central Canterbury Farm Forestry. I was awarded the MNZM (New Zealand Order of Merit) in New Year Honours of 2007/2008 for services to Agriculture, Local Government and the Community.
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