Tabuteau supports wood processing potential in Tairāwhiti/East Coast
Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau spoke at a Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association (WPMA) public meeting in Gisborne today to discuss the benefits of growing the wood processing sector in the region.
“With the launch of the Provincial Growth Fund and its focus on the forestry sector, there is exciting potential for innovation and growth in what is an incredibly important industry across Tairāwhiti/East Coast,” Mr Tabuteau says.
“The region’s goals for a strong forestry sector, with a focus on processing, align with the Government’s aims of lifting productivity in the provinces.”
Currently only four per cent of wood is processed locally and generates $27.8 million in regional GDP. The forestry industry has indicated this could be increased to 25 per cent which could provide an additional $120 million in regional GDP.
“As part of the One Billion Trees planting programme, it is definitely worth exploring ways of lifting the wood processing sector as a contributor to economic growth,” Mr Tabuteau said.
“I share the goals of the WPMA for a strong wood processing sector. The Government has already started with a commitment through the PGF to invest $200,000 to kick start the creation of a major wood processing ‘centre of research excellence’. We look forward to seeing the results of this preliminary work.”
While in Gisborne Mr Tabuteau also met with regional economic development agencies Activate Tairāwhiti and the Eastland Community Trust to discuss how the Government can best support them to deliver economic growth.
“I will be holding similar meetings with other agencies around the country in the coming months,” Mr Tabuteau said.
Media contact: Laree Taula, 021 992 200