Forestry Minister, Peeni Henare, has announced a new Wood Processing Growth Fund (WPGF) of $57 million that aims to unlock the potential of the wood processing sector, promote economic growth and contribute to Aotearoa New Zealand’s climate change response – a move that has been welcomed by Te Taumata.
Minister Henare says that despite the doubling of available logs for processing, wood processing capacity in Aotearoa has remained constant, and investment in processing infrastructure has declined.
“We are missing out on the potential benefits that processing wood here in Aotearoa offers.
“The forestry and wood processing sector is central to many of our regional economies and it is past time we capitalised on the opportunities available,” says Minister Henare.
The fund will support wood processors to invest in wood processing capacity and support feasibility projects through a ‘catalyst fund’, and provide capital support through an ‘accelerator fund’.
“We want to process more logs onshore, help move our forestry sector from volume to value, lift economic performance and resilience and create high-wage jobs in our regions.
Te Taumata Chairman, Chris Karamea Insley has welcomed Minister Henare’s vision for the industry and the aims of the new fund.
“Māori have a significant interest in this area, alongside creating more jobs for our people and delivering better outcomes for our whānau, communities and regions across the motu.
“We encourage the government not to overlook communities with a high Māori population, such as Murupara in the Bay of Plenty, who have been negatively impacted by past government policies, including retrenchment and experimental policies such as Rogernomics,” says Mr Insley.
Read more on the announcement here.