New forestry service unveiled in Rotorua

Forestry Minister Shane Jones has today celebrated the launch of Te Uru Rākau, the first step in re-establishing a forestry service in New Zealand.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Minister Shane Jones, Associate Forestry Minister Meka Whaitiri, New Zealand First Deputy Leader Fletcher Tabuteau and Waiariki MP Tamati Coffey attended the launch of Te Uru Rākau in Rotorua today, where the name and new branding was unveiled.

Te Uru Rākau will have its head office in regional New Zealand – honouring the coalition commitment made between New Zealand First and Labour.

“This Government has been clear about its commitment to New Zealand’s forestry sector and the One Billion Trees planting programme,” Shane Jones said.

“I believe Te Uru Rākau will play a key role in supporting and promoting our vision for a flourishing forestry sector, delivering sustainable jobs in our regions, forestry workforce development and training, economic growth while helping meet our country’s climate change targets.

“New Zealand’s old forestry service was disestablished in 1987 and in recent years our forestry sector has experienced decline but we’re determined to shine the spotlight on forestry once more.

“Te Uru Rākau will build a strong and dedicated forestry presence in Rotorua, recognising that Rotorua is at the heart of the forestry sector in New Zealand. Forestry is our third largest export earner – with an annual gross income of about $5.0 billion – and has the potential to grow.

“I’m pleased to be able to announce today that Budget 2018 will set aside $15.0 million of operating funds to boost the capability of the new service, enabling it to work with landowners, provide forestry expertise and deliver on the Government’s forestry objectives.

“Today, we’re also launching an online tree counter to keep track of the One Billion Trees goal. This will be updated weekly throughout the winter planting season and will show how many trees have been planted, the number of tree seedlings sold and the percentage of native versus exotic species.

“Since coming into government, we have given Crown Forestry the mandate to enter into commercial arrangements with landowners, provided $5.8 million of operating funding to scale up production of native seedlings and announced a nationwide planting programme over Matariki to recognise the men and women of our New Zealand Defence Force.

“Cabinet will sign off the exact functions, size and governance structure of Te Uru Rākau later this year,” Shane Jones said.