Hon Shane Jones, Minister of Forestry
A pilot will see release to work prisoners training and working in the forestry sector as part of the One Billion Trees Programme, Forestry Minister Shane Jones and Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis announced today.
The pilot – jointly developed by Te Uru Rākau and the Department of Corrections – will involve up to 15 prisoners from the Northland Regional Corrections Facility employed to plant seedlings as part of the 2019 season.
They will also work towards an NCEA Level 2 Qualification as part of the programme, supporting their reintegration and providing potential employment opportunities once released.
“It is these sorts of initiatives that are really at the core of what the One Billion Trees Programme is all about,” Shane Jones said.
“Yes, it’s about planting trees, but it’s also about providing employment opportunities and helping fill skill shortages. This pilot could pave the way for prisoners who are at the end of their sentence to find employment in the forestry sector – one of our most successful industries.”
The pilot will be located in Northland with Crown Forestry joint ventures needing planters in this area for the upcoming season.
Kelvin Davis says this pilot expands on the successful release to work programme already in place in New Zealand prisons.
“A good proportion of people in New Zealand prisons participate in employment or industry training. This is a great opportunity to expand our release to work programmes while also supporting regional employment opportunities and helping to reach the government’s goal of planting one billion trees by 2028,” Kelvin Davis said.