North Island forest land values skyrocket

Wednesday 12 Jun 2019

Farmers say a doubling of North Island forest land prices in the last year shows forestry investors speculating on the carbon price are outbidding farmers for land.

This has renewed calls from farmers for the Government to hit the pause button on policies which have led to thousands of hectares of hill country farmland being converted to blanket forestry in the last year.

Real Estate Institute figures show that for the year to April, North Island forestry land rose from a median of $6656 a hectare to $13,128/ha. In contrast, South Island forestry land fell 4 per cent in the same period from $6450 to $6162/ha.

Institute chief executive Bindi Norwell said buyers viewed forestry as a sought-after investment. Lobby group 50 Shades of Green spokesman Mike Butterick says forestry investors are outbidding farmers for land. Forest Owners' Association president Peter Weir says law changes have steered forest investors on to better hill country farmland, which is more expensive.

Farm sales fell by 29 per cent compared with the same time last year, while forest land sales had also fallen. Investors are holding on to their farms which is also contributing to the price rises.

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