Hon Shane Jones, Minister of Forestry
The Wellbeing Budget will enable further transformation of New Zealand’s forestry sector after the successful rollout of the Government’s One Billion Trees programme, Forestry Minister Shane Jones says.
“Forestry plays a key role in many of our Government’s priority areas – enhancing regional development, supporting Maori to realise the potential of their land, improving water quality, reducing carbon emissions and creating jobs,” Shane Jones said.
“The One Billion Trees ambition is ahead of target. The Wellbeing Budget is delivering $58 million in funding to ensure this remains the case while also catalysing further transformation of such an important sector.
“The funding will allow Te Uru Rākau (Forestry New Zealand) to increase its regional presence to ensure foresters and landowners have the support they need and will also see the agency focus on the Government’s goal of developing a sustainable, domestic forestry workforce.
“A key part to achieving our vision for the sector will be delivering in the regions and we will see a new premises built in Rotorua – the heart of the forestry sector – showcasing the use of wood in construction and accommodating Te Uru Rākau’sgrowth.
“By growing the regional presence, we have a huge opportunity to work even more closely with landowners – particularly Māori and farmers – to revitalise our regions and create real benefits across the country.
“Forestry is a great choice which will help landowners to diversify their income, invest in a sustainable future and increase productivity through improved land-use, including tackling erosion.
“Along with this, we will see Te Uru Rākau lead important work to capture and add value to the sector. They have been tasked with strengthening the domestic market for wood products and working closely with the sector to support investment in forestry.
“One of the priorities for the wellbeing budget is to transform the economy. This announcement will help us to do this in a sustainable way.
“With forestry worth over $6 billion to our economy, the Wellbeing Budget gives clear and visible leadership to Te Uru Rākau to build a sustainable sector that delivers improved social, environmental and economic benefits for New Zealand,” Shane Jones said.
Forestry is a significant industry in New Zealand. It directly employs 20,000 people and is forecast to contribute $6.8 billion to our economy in 2019, an increase of 7 per cent from 2018. Wood products are New Zealand's third largest export earner – behind dairy and meat.
Te Uru Rākau, Forestry New Zealand was launched in May 2018. In a successful first year, there have been numerous achievements including:
- 61 million trees planted since the One Billion Trees Programme was launched.
- Crown Forestry entering into 21 commercial joint ventures – many of which will enable Māori to realise the potential of their land – and enable the planting of nearly 11 million trees;
- Launching the One Billion Trees Fund and entering into 15 partnerships (approx. $28 million) and approving 36 tree planting grants (approx. $2.4 million);
- At least 52 full-time equivalent jobs created with a further 50 trainees, with the potential to grow significantly from here;
- Approving nearly $36 million of funding over four years to establish over 13 million trees on more than 21,000 hectares of hill country erosion prone land; and
- Launching Matariki Tu Rākau – in partnership with regional communities, enabling the planting of approximately 40,000 trees.
- Introducing Ngā Karahipi Uru Rākau – the Forestry Scholarships programme awarded eight scholarships in 2019, beginning a sold investment in the future of our forestry workforce.
- In conjunction with Corrections, developed a work place pilot programme that will provide up to 15 prisoners from Northland Region Corrections facilities with Forestry training and work experience.
- Streamlined the overseas investment process for forestry.
In addition to being able to double its regional presence in the next two years, Budget 2019 will enable Te Uru Rākau to achieve the following outcomes, over the next four years:
- Development of a modern Forestry Strategy setting the strategic direction for the sector covering commercial and indigenous forestry, trees and wood processing for the next 20 years;
- Review the Forest Act 1949 to reflect developments in domestic and international approaches to sustainable forestry management;
- Implement a workforce strategy to provide sustainable jobs, training and clear career pathways;
- Research factors affecting the wood supply for local wood processors;
- Build a new office in Rotorua to accommodate the anticipated growth of regional staff and demonstrate the value of using wood in construction;
- Provide easy access to Te Uru Rākau research material to support decision making through the development of a knowledge hub.