Forest owners frown on parliament marchers

Wednesday 13 Nov 2019

 
Forestry groups say the 50 Shades of Green march on Parliament last Thursday deliberately creates confusion about the true nature and recent scope of forestry expansion.

Farm Forestry Association President Hamish Levack says 50 Shades of Green demands on the government to restrict forest planting would not be supported by many farmers he knows.

“There’s at least ten thousand owners of farm woodlots in New Zealand. If they want to retire some more of their farms to earn some more income by expanding their woodlots then that should be their right. If they want to plant out the whole farm that should be their right as well, and shouldn’t be stopped by some misinformed fringes of the farming community.”

He cites a recent Beef + Lamb commission report on the Wairoa District, which concluded that a typical sheep and beef farm was unable to complete with forestry returns over a 60- year period.

Hamish Levack says the 50 Shades of Green petition demanding the government prevent farmers planting trees to offset carbon emissions sounds to him like climate change denial.

“Farmers who contribute towards reducing New Zealand’s net greenhouse gas emissions should be congratulated and not banned.”

“I also can’t understand what they have against the government’s Billion Trees programme either. It’s a fund which is only available to farmers and only for part of a farm. I would think they would be in favour of this.”

“Timber product exports are worth ten times the total value of the wool industry for New Zealand. Our ratio of further-processed product exports is two and a half times that achieved by the wool industry.”

John Bishara is Chair of the Ngati Tuwharetoa Maori Trust Board, CEO of the Lake Taupo Forest Trust, and adviser to the Lake Rotoaira Forest Trust, and is very familiar with the impacts of regulation on land use flexibility.

“The tribe has long held that decisions on how we utilise our lands are matters for our many thousands of landowners. While we adhere to the raft of national, regional and district rules which can and do influence how we operate, it must be remembered that we are the perpetual owners of these lands, and we would not welcome further regulatory imposition restricting our land use flexibility.”

Forest Owners Association President Peter Weir is also saying landowners need the options to meet market demands and environmental standards at the same time.

“For forestry that means we are pulling back from planting the most erosion risk terrain, and concentrating on farmland which has been economically marginal for livestock for a long time, but is less expensive to harvest trees on.”

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Source: Scoop news


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