“This marks the first joint venture negotiated under the One Billion Trees programme with Ngāti Hine Forestry Trust and Te Uru Rākau (Forestry New Zealand) committed to working together on this commercial venture,” Shane Jones said.
“This will be a boost to the local economy and will provide employment opportunities and better social outcomes for the whole region.
“We’ll plant 500,000 pine trees this year, with a further 2 million planted over the next three years.
“In addition, up to 465 hectares of Mānuka will be planted on Ngāti Hine Forestry Trust land. At the end of two years a substantial commercial Mānuka plantation will be in place with an apiculture business developed to help the Trust diversify its land use.
“This will provide essential work experience for young people, helping them to build a strong foundation for a forestry career. Over two years, up to forty people will participate in the training programme, developing the skills and qualifications they need to succeed.
“We’ll invest $1.9 million in the Mānuka planting initiative, with the potential that the training programme developed could also be used in other regions nationwide.
“This initiative supports the Trust’s plans to establish and grow future opportunities for higher skilled and better paid jobs in Northland. It will help create economic resilience in the region and improve the quality of their land for future generations.
“The One Billion Trees programme is more than an investment in trees. It’s about providing an important investment in our people, our regional communities, and our environment,” Shane Jones said.