You are wrong, if you thought the One Billion Trees trough had been emptied – but a renamed agency will dish up the remnants

One of the latest Beehive announcements augurs changes in the tree-planting, tree-growing and tree-harvesting business, another will help you change information recorded on your birth certificate and (it is reasonable to suppose) on your family tree.   

The first involves the forestry sector.  Te Uru Rākau (Forestry New Zealand) will be renamed Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service and shift its operational headquarters from Wellington to Rotorua. 

The second involves public records.  The government is increasing support for New Zealanders wanting to change their sex marker on their birth certificates.

The statement on the forest service, from Forestry Minister Stuart Nash, served the useful purpose of reminding us about the One Billion Trees programme.  We hadn’t heard much about this, and the goal to have one billion more trees planted by 2028, since New Zealand First’s Shane Jones – remember when he was Minister of Regional Economic Development and of Forestry? – was given the heave-ho by the electorate last year.

Nash noted that in the past three years forestry policies prioritised regional economic development, by supporting extensive tree planting and job creation.  “We are now building on those achievements to transition to a professional advisory and management service.

“Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service will continue to work alongside local communities on the remaining tree planting projects that endure from the One Billion Trees funding.”

Then he dished up some numbers:  more than 258 million trees have been planted towards the goal of one billion trees by 2028. 

About $23 million of the fund is unallocated and will be reprioritised towards the new work of Te Uru Rākau – the New Zealand Forest Service, making it cost-neutral.

The news that there are a few million dollars left in the trough came as a surprise because, last time we checked with the Ministry for Primary Industries website, we were advised:   


We cannot accept any more One Billion Trees applications. The number of applications in progress will exceed the limit of the fund if approved.

If you have applied for funding, we will contact you to discuss your application.

Existing signed contracts will progress as scheduled.

 Don’t believe everything you read on a government website, eh?

But let’s check out the new name and the new mission.

The change of name and location for the public forestry service is part of a plan to “drive the focus on regional economic development, skills training, and a low-emissions future,” Stuart Nash said.

“The name change is small but significant. It signals a more hands-on role for a public forestry service, with specialists and advisors working alongside the sector,” Mr Nash said.

“We will lift planning and advisory capabilities within Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service so it can offer a professional advisory service and share its forestry management expertise.

“It will provide more on-the-ground support to iwi, private landowners, farm foresters, local councils, timber processors, training institutes, and other forestry organisations. The Forest Service will maximise opportunities for the forestry and wood processing sector.”

Forestry will be a key part of the government’s climate change response, Nash reminded us.

“In areas like biofuels, forestry can support our move away from fossil fuels. Innovative building products made from local wood will replace products such as concrete and steel.”

Reflecting the Ardern government’s strong impulse to create an “us” and “them” society, Nash explained the implications for one group (whether it is “us” or “them” will depend on your ancestry). 

“For Māori, there is huge potential across the whole forestry system, as landowners, community leaders, investors and guardians of the environment. We will continue to support Māori aspirations for land management, economic development, and job creation.”

More generally, he said:

“Farmers, foresters, and conservationists share an objective to plant more trees in the right places, whether to diversify farm incomes, stabilise erosion-prone hills, increase wood supply for processing, or create more permanent indigenous forests for biodiversity or recreational use.”

Forestry is the third largest primary exporter by value.

Therefore, Nash said,

“ … it’s important we keep innovating to support regional development, drive economic growth and meet our climate and environmental goals. 

“That will feed into our vital work on the Industry Transformation Plan and the delivery of the Government’s Fit for a Better World – Accelerating our Economic Potential roadmap.”

The operational headquarters will be based in Rotorua in a new wooden building that highlights the potential of timber construction, and reflects Rotorua’s central location in our largest plantation forest region. 

Read more about the Minister’s vision for the Future of Forestry HERE.

The change announced by Internal Affairs Minister Jan Tinetti deals with self-identification, which she said is a significant issue for transgender, non-binary and intersex New Zealanders.

These people are assured the government is committed to making it easier for them to formally acknowledge their identified gender.

Her comments accompany the release of the Government’s response to the recommendations of the Working Group for Reducing Barriers to Changing Registered Sex.

The Working Group’s report contained several recommendations to the government and Family Court.

The government is “making real progress” in implementing most of the recommendations in some form already, Tinetti said. 

People have been able to change the sex on their birth certificate since the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Act was passed in 1995, but the Working Group advised on ways to improve the process.

“Currently, people can self-identify their gender on the driver’s licence or passport – but to change their sex on a birth certificate, they need to go to the Family Court for a declaration and provide medical evidence as part of this process.

“Things like waiving the application fees associated with this process have made a real difference, and reduced the financial burden of by up to $95 [sic].”

This means some of the financial burden has been shifted from the applicants to taxpayers.

Alongside implementing the recommendations of the Working Group report, the Government is progressing work on the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Bill with the hope of passing it this year.

The Bill will enable people to self-identify their sex on their birth certificate without going to the Family Court. They will instead be able to apply online as they currently do for other identity documents, like driver’s licenses and passports.

The bill might not go to a select committee.

“I will take a range of perspectives into account as I make decisions on the future of the Bill, including whether it will come before Select Committee again. It is important we get this right.

“I understand the frustrations from communities that have been fighting for these changes since 2007, and I am urgently progressing work to enable the cabinet decisions required to get the Bill moving.”   

This means that whether you are Arthur or Martha, or an Arthur who aspires to become Martha, or a Martha who aspires to become Arthur, you won’t necessarily have much say in the shape of the legislation that eventually is enacted.  

Latest from the Beehive

29 APRIL 2021   

Greater role for a public forestry service   

Govt increases support for those wanting to change registered sex




One thought on “You are wrong, if you thought the One Billion Trees trough had been emptied – but a renamed agency will dish up the remnants

  1. Reblogged this on The Inquiring Mind and commented:

    More government BS, note the change in tone by Nash re Maori as opposed to the rest. Also note the likelihood of a Bill from Jan Tinetti , may bypass Select Committee.Again we see the contempt of the regime for democracy


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