East Coast forestry forecast healthy

Wednesday 6 Mar 2019

The East Coast region’s wood harvest will peak at around 3.8 million tonnes through to 2035 - It will then fall to around 2.5m tonnes for several years, but the industry will continue to be a significant contributor and employer in the region, says Eastland Wood Council.

EWC was responding to a letter in the Gisborne Herald last week that suggested for “the best part of a decade there will be no trees to harvest”.

“The forestry industry is a major contributor to the regional economy,” said EWC chief executive Kim Holland.

“A significant number of our population and community are directly and indirectly employed in the wider forest industry — from contractors through to those in support services.”

A “one in four households figure” mentioned in the letter was often quoted around the economic impact of the forest industry.

“It has come from the Eastland Wood Council/Waikato University Study completed in 2013.

“It is timely to update this and provide accurate figures on the economic impact and value of the forestry industry to the region, including the number of people directly and indirectly employed,” Ms Holland said.

“For this reason, the Eastland Wood Council, in conjunction with Activate Tairawhiti, is undertaking a survey and report into the labour and skill needs in the East Coast forestry region.

“This will ensure that we have a clear picture of our current and projected skill and labour needs, based on projected harvesting and reforestation programmes.”

The industry was still in a growth phase and operational activity was currently being constrained by the shortage of labour and skill supply, she said.

“Even with our skills and training programmes, The Generation Programme and Manaia Safe Forestry School, contractors, earthworks and transport employers are struggling to keep up with the work required.

“The forestry industry is looking to recruit across all levels of the sector, including engineering, forest management and health and safety, through to on-the-ground operations.”

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Source: Gisborne Herald

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