A blessing is taking place at Scion this morning at the site of the new forestry service Te Uru Rākau building.
Forestry Minister Shane Jones announced this morning the new building will be shared with the Department of Conservation.
It will ultimately house some 50 Ministry for Primary Industries staff, with 25 of those from Te Uru Rākau.
“The current office, also located on Scion’s Rotorua campus, has been assessed as no longer fit for purpose and an alternative solution was required to accommodate the growing number of regional staff,” he said in a press release.
“The purpose-built facility will be constructed with sustainable construction techniques, including using New Zealand grown timber for both the structural and visible parts of the building.
“Using New Zealand-engineered timber will deliver a range of benefits – social, environmental and regional – and see the creation of jobs and renewed investment in forestry, processing, manufacturing, construction, and prefabrication.”
Jones said the hub tied in with Rotorua Lakes District Council’s Wood First policy, “so we’re right at home here”.
He has also announced a new request for research from Te Uru Rākau, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Forestry Ministerial Advisory Group.
The “request for proposal”, worth $250,000 to $300,000, seeks a commercially-oriented report on innovative ways to use wood fibre.
“We know about the ability of trees to absorb carbon and we’ve invested heavily in rapidly strengthening our forestry estate through initiatives such as the One Billion Trees programme and recent changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme.
“These forests will act as a carbon sink in the short-to-medium term however they are also vital to increasing wood and fibre supply over the next 20 to 30 years as we position our forestry system, or parts of this system, to manufacture a wide range of products that will help us adapt to climate change and meet our emissions target.”
Jones said consumers wanted alternatives to concrete, steel, and plastic and in theory, everything that could be made from oil or non-renewable resources could be made from trees.
“The big question is one of commercial viability and how the big ideas can be made into reality.”
He hoped the report would bring “innovation and employment to our regions, and increase onshore processing of logs” and “help establish forestry as the cornerstone of our future economy”.
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