The Government is putting about $1 million towards training for Wairarapa youth in a bid to tackle unemployment and skills shortages in the region.
In the latest tranche of spending from the Government's $1 billion-a-year Provincial Growth Fund, ministers on Tuesday announced they would be investing $948,000 into an initiative aimed at getting rangatahi work-ready.
The Nga Pumanawa Tupuna programme will be run by local training providers with a goal of upskilling and giving confidence to 110 at-risk youth aged 16 to 24.
The funding, covering two years, comes from $13.2 million already allocated to the He Poutama Rangatahi initiative, which focuses at getting young people not in training or education into jobs and has been trialled in Te Tai Tokerau, Eastern Bay of Plenty, Gisborne and Hawke's Bay.
Employment Minister Willie Jackson said the region faced skill shortages and high rates of youth not in employment or schools.
"This project helps solve issues in the Wairarapa … by involving local people who know the area and its challenges the best," he said.
The programme will be run by local training provider Youth, Education, Training and Employment, which Jackson said networks in the community, with a focus on tikanga Māori.
Regional Development Minister Shane Jones said the initiative would help meet local demand for workers in industries such as construction, farming and hospitality.
Earlier during Tuesday's visit to the region, Jones - also the Minister of Forestry - joined KiwiRail, CentrePort and forestry sector representatives in Masterton to watch the departure of the first extended log train from the Waingawa rail hub to Wellington.
Last year KiwiRail moved about 270,000 tonnes of logs from the hub to the capital's port.
The rail operator's addition of carriages to two daily transport trains on the line would now see an extra 100,000 tonnes carried and cut out 6000 truck trips annually, Jones said.
"Log harvests in the south-eastern section of the North Island are predicted to increase to 1.65 million tonnes in the next five years and stay that way into the 2030s," he said.
"Trucks alone won't be able to manage the future harvest volumes ... I think commuters will be happy to see fewer log trucks struggling over the Rimutaka."
The Government gave a $1 billion boost to Kiwirail in the May Budget, including for extensive infrastructure maintenance and equipment.