Government launches new forestry service

Government launches new forestry service
Photo credit: Getty

The Government has launched its new forestry service, but it's yet to decide on its exact function, size and governance structure.

Te Uru Rākau will be in charge of delivering the Government's One Billion Trees programme. 

Forestry Minister Shane Jones made the announcement in Rotorua this morning.

"Te Uru Rākau will build a strong and dedicated forestry presence in Rotorua, recognising that Rotorua is at the heart of the forestry sector in New Zealand. Forestry is our third largest export earner - with an annual gross income of about $5 billion - and has the potential to grow," the Minister said.

The Government also announced a new Ministerial advisory group made up of 10 forestry experts. The Forestry Ministerial Advisory Group will help provide advice on delivering the One Billion Trees programme.

It will be possible to follow the One Billion Trees programme online with a virtual tree counter.

"This will be updated weekly throughout the winter planting season and will show how many trees have been planted, the number of tree seedlings sold and the percentage of native versus exotic species," Mr Jones said.

The service will get $15m of funding in Budget 2018.

New Zealand First is claiming it as a win, with Fletcher Tabuteau saying re-establishing New Zealand's forestry service is a key aspect of the coalition.

"As an MP based in Rotorua, I'm particularly happy to see our region's proud forestry industry once again put in the spotlight," Mr Tabuteau said.