MPI and forestry

MPI works with the forestry sector to promote and protect New Zealand's forest resources. Find out how we manage and support sustainable forestry.

MPI's role in forestry

MPI is the Government's principal forestry advisor.


  • regulate forestry and develop forestry policy
  • manage forestry programmes such as the Emissions Trading Scheme
  • promote and protect sustainable forestry in New Zealand and overseas
  • manage forestry grants and information services.

Regulating and managing forestry

MPI oversees forestry activities under a range of legislation including the Forests Act 1949 and the Forests Amendment Act 1993.

Legality of New Zealand timber

New Zealand has one of the lowest levels of corruption in the world. Timber and timber products are produced legally through its strong regulatory environment, including property rights, taxes, law enforcement and prosecutions.

New Zealand is unique because most forestry production and exports come from privately-owned exotic plantation forests. These forests have been grown specifically for harvesting. Most of New Zealand’s indigenous forests have been set aside for conservation and are protected. The low levels of harvesting of privately owned indigenous forests is strictly monitored.

All forestry activities, including harvesting, must comply with the Resource Management Act 1991 which ensures they are environmentally sustainable. Industry codes and standards also promote sustainable and legal forest management.

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Providing national consistency in forest management

In May 2018 the National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry (NES-PF), a set of nationally consistent rules and conditions for plantation forestry activities, came into force . The NES-PF replaces local and district council plans. It was developed to:

  • better protect the environment
  • inprove operational certainty for the forestry sector.

Forestry in the Emissions Trading Scheme

Forestry is a key part of New Zealand's response to our international climate change commitments. MPI manages forestry in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) – along with the Ministry for the Environment and the Environmental Protection Authority under the Climate Change Response Act 2002.

Forestry in the ETS

Managing commercial forestry

MPI manages the New Zealand Government's forestry assets through a separate unit called Crown Forestry.

Crown Forestry

Promoting sustainable forestry

Sustainable forest management is increasingly important to ensure the long-term future of New Zealand's forests and to meet a growing market demand for sustainably produced timber.

New Zealand monitors the sustainability of our forest management through an international system called the Montréal Process.

Sustainable indigenous forestry

MPI manages the sustainable harvesting of indigenous forests in New Zealand. To harvest or mill indigenous forest, owners usually need to have a Sustainable Forest Management Plan or Permit.

MPI also regulates the harvesting, milling and export of swamp kauri (kauri timber that has been buried and preserved in what used to be swamps).

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Sustainable forestry products

MPI supports international efforts to promote the trade of sustainable forestry products and combat illegal logging through various policies, forestry organisations and agreements including the:

  • Montréal Process
  • United Nations Forum on Forests
  • Convention on Biological Diversity
  • Food and Agricultural Organisation
  • International Tropical Timber Organisation
  • World Bank
  • APEC Expert Group on Illegal Logging and Associated Trade

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Providing forestry services

MPI provides a range of services to monitor and support the forestry sector. This includes collecting and providing data on the forestry sector, administering grants (such as the Sustainable Farming Fund and Erosion Control Funding Programme), and supporting trade in New Zealand forest products.

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