Ardern un­veils forestry hub for dis­trict


Labour leader Jacinda Ardern used a visit to Ro­torua last Thurs­day to an­nounce plans to es­tab­lish a new Forestry Ser­vice in the city, if Labour forms the next gov­ern­ment.

Dur­ing a visit to the Red Stag tim­ber pro­cess­ing company, Ardern said the cre­ation of the stand­alone forestry ser­vice would pro­vide sta­bil­ity for in­vest­ment in pro­cess­ing and man­u­fac­tur­ing wood on­shore, rather than ex­port­ing raw logs.

‘‘Forestry is our third largest ex­port sec­tor, but there has been a dra­matic switch away from pro­cess­ing to ex­port­ing raw logs. While 3000 jobs in wood pro­cess­ing and man­u­fac­tur­ing have been lost since 2008, raw log ex­ports have tripled.

‘‘I grew up in the forestry town of Mu­ru­para, and I know the im­por­tance of this in­dus­try for many com­mu­ni­ties.

‘‘Labour wants to bring the Gov­ern­ment’s wood pol­icy to the heart of forestry coun­try by es­tab­lish­ing a New Zealand For­est Ser­vice in Ro­torua, re­plac­ing func­tions cur­rently car­ried out in Welling­ton. It will be re­spon­si­ble for im­ple­ment­ing a Na­tional Forestry Strat­egy, grow­ing its own com­mer­cial forests as ap­pro­pri­ate for the strat­egy, and help­ing other land own­ers who want to con­vert to forestry.’’

Af­ter the Red Stag visit, Ardern spoke to sup­port­ers at Ro­torua’s Cen­tral Mall along­side Ro­torua Labour can­di­date Ben Sand­ford and Labour Wa­iariki can­di­date Ta­mati Cof­fey.

‘‘It’s won­der­ful to be back in Ro­torua and talk­ing about some­thing we should have been talk­ing about for nine years, jobs in the re­gions,’’ she said.

‘‘Ro­torua sits at the heart of the forestry in­dus­try and we’re bring­ing it out of Welling­ton and here.’’

Ardern again re­ferred to her up­bring­ing in Mu­ru­para, cit­ing it as the cat­a­lyst for her en­try to pol­i­tics.

‘‘[Mu­ru­para] was a town that looked af­ter each other, but was aban­doned by Gov­ern­ment.

‘‘I’m in pol­i­tics be­cause of what I’ve seen and I think we can change this.’’

Ardern’s visit was also wel­comed by Ed­uardo Dias and son Le­an­dro - who got to meet the Labour leader.

‘‘I’m a labour sup­porter from way back,’’ the Ro­torua res­i­dent, orig­i­nally from Mex­ico, said.

‘‘In the last few years Ro­torua has been mov­ing in a pos­i­tive di­rec­tion, but we need a change to make it even bet­ter and that’s Jacinda and Labour.’’

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