Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Govt backs wood processing jobs and industry diversity

The Government has announced it will back non-pine tree sawmilling and the creation of industry jobs in Rotorua and Whangarei.

Forestry Minister, Peeni Henare said the Forestry and Wood Processing Industry Transformation Plan identified the need to add more diversity to New Zealand productions forests, wood products and markets.

“Local sawmills that specialise in using non-pine trees develop amazing, high-value, products and play a key role in our rural communities. If Government partners with these smaller wood processors, we can help grow the industry, and over the long term reduce reliance on pine forests for some products,” he said.

“A new Te Kōtuku Fund will co‑invest with small-scale processors to lift productivity and capacity and create more local jobs.

”Boosting onshore processing of non-pine tree species is critical for diversification. It will help forest growers have greater confidence in demand for the non-pine tree species they grow. It will also give architects, builders, and homeowners greater confidence in supply when specifying special-purpose timber in their projects.  

“It’s exciting. Te Kōtuku Fund will also help unlock co-investment opportunities for Māori communities to process their forestry resources into timber for use in papakāinga and for sale to the market,” Mr Henare said.

The Government is also providing loans to two companies through the Wood Processing Growth Fund to help grow domestic wood processing by up to 72,000 cubic metres.

“Astro Pine NZ Limited of Ngongotahā, Rotorua, makes high-quality products by planing and finger-jointing low-grade timber into mouldings such as architraves and window frames. The loan will enable them to expand output on their existing site by 15,000 cubic metres per year,” Mr Henare said.

“The expansion is expected to create 10-15 new jobs and local sawmills will benefit from increased demand for sawn timber.  

 “Rosvall Sawmill Limited of Whareora, Whangārei, makes timber products for residential and industrial construction. The loan will co-finance a state-of-the-art treatment facility, enabling them to scale-up processing by 42,000 cubic metres of logs per year, and will initially create three more full time jobs on site and facilitate considerable total growth for the period ahead.”

He said the forecast growth will lead to approximately eight new jobs being created in the company.

The loans are to be matched by 50% co-funding from the businesses. 

“Both investments are examples of how the Government is committed to partnering with wood processors to boost productivity and create more high-value, long-lived wood products for domestic and export markets.”

“We want to process more logs onshore and help move our forestry sector from volume to value. This is a key part of our economic plan to support Aotearoa New Zealand to become a high value, low emissions economy that provides economic security in good times and bad,” Mr Henare said.

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