$2.5m boost for pine tree productivity

By Alison King alison king@dailypost co nz

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Steven Joyce
Steven Joyce

Scion has been awarded $2.5 million for important forestry research.

The five-year investment was announced on Thursday by Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce. The funding will support the development of new technologies that can be used by pine tree breeders to reduce the time it takes to breed and plant new, improved trees by 15 years.

The Radiata Pine Breeding Company, which has formed a partnership between 16 forestry organisations, Scion and the University of Canterbury, is researching and developing the new technologies.

"Science and innovation are major drivers of economic growth and international competitiveness," Mr Joyce said.

"The Government is committed to ensuring we invest in purpose-driven research that benefits New Zealand. The project will bring companies and industry bodies together to find solutions, through science and research, that will enable us to develop a more technologically advanced and economically successful forestry industry."

Rotorua MP Todd McClay has welcomed the investment.

"This investment will support the significant work Scion is doing in the development of new technologies to boost productivity in the pine tree breeding industry," he said.

"Our leading team of New Zealand scientists have been working in partnership with Radiata Pine Breeding Company and other forestry organisations to reduce the time it takes to breed and plant new improved trees by 15 years.

"Forestry is incredibly important to Rotorua and this research could provide for a major breakthrough for the industry both here and across the wider New Zealand. It's important we provide the right support to help Scion continue with the important work they're doing."

Two weeks ago the Bay of Plenty Regional Council announced a $2.5 million award from the Bay of Plenty Regional Council's Regional Infrastructure Fund to build a new Innovation Centre within Scion's Innovation Park.

- ROTORUA DAILY POST

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