More support for wood processing
Published: Mar 27, 2020
The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is ramping up support for the wood processing sector in Tairāwhiti to bolster the region’s economy at a time of heightened uncertainty.
This $12.1 million loan to WET Gisborne Ltd follows an earlier announcement of a regional support package for Tairāwhiti, of $100 million to help redeploy workers affected by the economic impact of COVID-19.
The funding will accelerate the development of WET Gisborne Ltd’s wood processing production line, which will produce a laminated structural wood product.
In addition to the loan, Regional Economic Development Ministers have also confirmed another $2.98 million loan for the Wood Cluster Centre of Excellence’s combined heat and power plant, located in Gisborne. This plant is integral to the success of the Centre. This is a drawdown on the $19.5 million investment to the centre announced in July last year.
The government is working alongside people in the region on projects that will help diversify the forestry sector, which is overly reliant on log exports to China.
The funding will allow construction to begin on a production line that is expected to create 74 new jobs in coming months.
Work is about to begin on the first phase of the production line that will increase capacity from 3.5 days per week to a 24 hour,7 days a week operation. The second phase, which will establish New Zealand’s first fully commercial scale production line, will start next summer.
Wood processing is one of the biggest economic growth opportunities in Tairāwhiti. This production line will enable higher-value forestry products to be produced locally, develop new economic growth in the forestry industry and ensure money goes back into the community via bigger pay packets for local workers.
The engineering work required to build the processing line and the centre’s heat plant will ensure job continuity for local engineering firms.
While New Zealand, and the world, is experiencing an economic shock, continued investment in PGF projects will help place the country on excellent footing post-virus.