If elected next term, Labour says it will require resource consent for any conversion of highly productive farmland into forestry.
The move will help the industries grow for a “post-COVID-19 world”, says forestry minister Shane Jones.
The inaugural meeting of the Forestry and Wood Processing Workforce Council is being held today. The council will implement the Workforce Action Plan, that was presented to Jones in January, and identify what should take priority as New Zealand emerges from COVID-19 lockdown.
“The forestry and wood-processing sector is at the heart of many regions and the communities within them. With a workforce of more than 38,500 and contributing more than $6.9 billion in export revenue, it will play a critical role in New Zealand’s economic recovery,” says Jones.
“The world wants our timber and wood products and the industry needs more workers. There is a huge opportunity for people to retrain and take up work in the industry.”
It is estimated the forestry and wood-processing sector will need another 5000 workers by 2025.
The action plan addresses common forestry and wood processing workforce challenges by complementing and building on existing initiatives, as well as beginning new ones.
“COVID-19 has been unprecedented global event, but one thing remains the same, New Zealand has some of the best timber and wood products in the world, we need a skilled workforce to keep this sector moving forward, and the world wants our high quality products. We need to seize that opportunity,” says Jones.
The Forestry and Wood Processing Workforce Action Plan 2020-2024
and a high level summary can be found on the MPI website here.