On January 31, New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins announced a cabinet reshuffle, returning Stuart Nash to his previous post as Minister for Forestry. Nash, 55, holds a master’s degree in Forestry Science and envisions growing and processing more trees in New Zealand, while avoiding the conversion of highly productive farmland into forestry.
New Zealand is home to 10.1 million hectares of forests, which cover 38% of the land, with around 8 million hectares being native forest and 2.1 million hectares under plantations. Of the plantation forests, 1.7 million hectares are productive, with the remainder in reserves or unplanted areas near water and infrastructure.
In related news, Dr Megan Woods has taken on several portfolios that align with the forestry and forest products sectors, including housing, infrastructure, energy and resources, and building and construction.
Hipkins, who assumed the role of Prime Minister following the surprise resignation of Jacinda Ardern, has been demoting senior figures and focusing on his priorities ahead of an upcoming October election. Currently, he is on his first overseas tour, visiting Australia.