Forestry Minister Shane Jones is remaining tight-lipped about plans for a standalone "Ministry of Forestry" in Rotorua.

The new Government wants to re-establish the New Zealand Forestry Service alongside its goal to plant one billion trees over 10 years (between 2018 and 2027).

In a speech on Wednesday at the Growing Confidence in Forestry's Future conference in Rotorua, the minister said forestry leaders "had kind of been the poor cousins in terms of debates about primary commodities in New Zealand for such a long time".

He said he did not want the forestry ministry to be a "bloated bureaucracy".


"I want people planting trees, not pushing pens," he said.

Jones said there would be "a great deal" of collaboration between the future ministry in Rotorua and Scion "to give a level of confidence and security as to how the state provides funding for that particular scientific institute".

He said at the conference he would not provide further details about the proposed forestry ministry until Budget 2018 is delivered in May.

On Thursday, the minister's office was pressed further about what the planned ministry would entail, how many people were expected to work there, and what roles it would perform.

The response was: "We do not have those details yet, unfortunately."

Jones told the conference on Wednesday that, as minister, he had "the task of rehabilitating the status of the New Zealand forestry sector".

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"It is something that has slipped off its place of pride. Not only over the past nine years, but I would hazard a guess since we started the process [through structural adjustment] of privatising and corporatising New Zealand's state-owned forestry interests.

"Day by day, week by week in Parliament, I am either parodied or attacked for pursuing the pine tree. What people do not realise is the first 500 million of those trees, all going well, will be planted by our existing forestry sector."

He said the Government would not buy land to plant trees for the programme but would partner with existing landowners such as farmers and Maori.