Forestry Minister Shane Jones has announced a further $58 million will be injected into the forestry sector with some of that allocated to the Government's One Billion Trees programme.
Jones made the pre-budget announcement in Rotorua this evening and said the Wellbeing Budget would enable the further transformation of New Zealand's forestry sector after the successful rollout of the One Billion Trees programme.
"Forestry plays a key role in many of our Government's priority areas – enhancing regional development, supporting Māori to realise the potential of their land, improving water quality, reducing carbon emissions and creating jobs."
Jones said a key part of achieving their vision for the sector would be delivering in the regions.
"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's (Forestry New Zealand) growth."
At the service's launch in May last year, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it made sense Te Uru Rākau, which was expected to create more than 300 jobs, was based in Rotorua.
Ardern said Te Uru Rākau would focus on growing the country's forestry sector, building a strong labour market and lifetime careers, and creating one vision for the Government's One Billion Trees programme.
Jones said the One Billion Trees ambition was, so far, ahead of target and the additional funding would ensure this remained the case while also catalysing further transformation of such an important sector.
"The funding will allow Te Uru Rākau 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."
He said by growing the regional presence, they had a huge opportunity to work even more closely with landowners – particularly Māori and farmers – to revitalise the 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.
"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," Jones said.