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Pleas have been heard: Forestry Minister Shane Jones

The Government will soon release a range of options to help moderate the negative effect the forestry downturn is having on families.

Forestry Minister Shane Jones told The Herald yesterday he wanted East Coast families and community leaders to know he had heard their pleas for help.

Mr Jones said Te Uru Rakau/Forestry New Zealand chief executive Julie Collins was looking into a raft of actions the Government could take.

These would be ready by tomorrow and submitted to Cabinet on Monday.

Options include relocating people to the South Island, where there was work available to help stop the spread of the invasive wilding pines.

“Not a lot of Tairawhiti people want to work in the South Island but we have already had requests to see if some guys could go down there.”

Mr Jones said the Government would also look into whether it could contribute to the cost of relocation.

Other options included fast forwarding some Provisional Growth Fund projects in Tairawhiti to see if they could start sooner and absorb some of the labour available now.

There was also scope to contribute to the cost of workers who wanted to work the horticulture season in Hawke's Bay.

Mr Jones said most of the feedback he had received was that families did not want to move.

Their children were settled in school and they would prefer the focus was on remedies here on the East Coast.

“The situation does seem to be moderating but there is so much volatility in China.

“The Government here would rather compile some options and be ready to go if necessary.

“It is important the East Coast know they have heard from their Forestry Minister and the Government has heard their pleas.”