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Gisborne makes up 1% of NZ’s economy in employment terms. It includes some of NZ’s most remote areas, with mountainous topography and difficult transport routes. Gisborne also has a very different age and ethnic profile compared to the country as a whole. Nearly half the population is Maori (47% compared to 14% for NZ), and it is correspondingly younger than most other regions.

Forestry is delivering a massive economic benefit to the Gisborne region and, with an expected boom in log exports, by 2020 one in 10 people could earn a living from the sector, according to a new economic study.

Forestry is worth more than $225 million a year in the East Coast region, overtaking sheep and beef farming, at $206m the other key sector in the region, the report by Waikato University shows. Including the spillover effect into other activity around the region there was a “flow-on” value of $383m from forestry.
Gisborne is already the third largest export producer of logs, worth about $208m a year, behind Tauranga in top spot and Whangarei in second place.

By 2020, the forestry sector will be worth $328m, the report says, creating another 630 jobs, with the total wage and salary bill likely to rise by $55m.