Govt boost forestry to drive regional development

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

Regional development has received support through the funding of forestry and employment initiatives in Budget 2019, both areas of significance in the East Coast where Gisborne District Councillor Meng Foon welcomes the announcements.

Meng Foon says, “The Government support is good to us here on the East Coast, as I hear that $49m is going towards forestry.”

Gisborne District Council Mayor Meng Foon says forestry on the East Coast will find benefit.

“Here at home it's not only pine, but the older native trees such as Mānuka and Kānuka are good as well to hold the land which is the aim at home,” he says.

$49.9m is being allocated to the "Mana in Mahi" programme which aims to aid employers and employees through training incentives and pre-employment support.

Foon says, “The program by Minister Willie Jackson is very good for us to deliver to our children to train them in businesses throughout the Tairāwhiti region.”

He says around 8%, or approximately 3000 people, in Te Tairāwhiti are unemployed, so the announcement to support job training is welcome.

“There are many unemployed among us here, so it's for them to learn skills and develop within the many businesses in the Tairāwhiti region."

Whether or not the benefits will reach whānau in need on the East Coast, only time will tell.