Labour goes wood first: NZ timber would be used in all Government builds

Labour has committed to planting commercial forests on Crown land, with the wood to be processed in New Zealand for use in building.

Labour says too many raw logs are currently being exported and New Zealand is missing out on value-added processing and manufacturing jobs are being lost.

A Labour Government would also establish a $20m prefabricated housing plant in Gisborne.

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern told media she would bring back the New Zealand Forest Service in Rotorua, which would plant forests on Crown land. It would require the sale of logging rights over 50 hectares to go through the Overseas Investment Office.

"It's not only beneficial to us in terms of regional growth and development and good, well-paid jobs, it also helps us achieve some of our other commitments, particularly when it comes to issues of climate and climate change," Ms Ardern said.

"Our goal is to see fewer logs being shipped offshore when they can be processed here in New Zealand and be used to build New Zealand homes and New Zealand products."

All new government building projects - including Kiwibuild, classrooms and ministries - would be required to use New Zealand wood or present a "compelling" business case as to why they might need to use a different material.