Farmers express concern over 'One billion trees' scheme

Anna Gordon
Anna Gordon
North Canterbury farmers have expressed concerns at the Ministry of Primary Industries' "One Billion Trees'' programme.
Farmers attending the recent Federated Farmers North Canterbury annual meeting held near Oxford raised concerns during a presentation by MPI's Anna Gordon about scheme, which was launched last November, that some of the criteria may not work in Canterbury.

Hurunui Mayor Winton Dalley said having a "one size fits all'' approach across New Zealand was problematic given different climatic conditions in Canterbury compared to the North Island.

He had particular concerns around the requirements that "trees need to be able to reach 5m in height'', as trees like kanuka and manuka could "be a problem in some parts of Canterbury''.

Another farmer raised concerns about "who decides what is the right tree and the right place''.

The 5m height requirement was included in legislation to implement the programme, while councils and industry experts had been consulted when the scheme was developed to "get an idea of what councils want to achieve for plantings in their local areas'', Ms Gordon said.

"There are experienced people in the team who have worked with the forestry industry for a number of years.''

Despite the concerns, a One Billion Trees programme spokeswoman said the ministry had no plans to review the scheme.

The programme offered incentives to encourage landowners to plant more trees, offering a range of options.

Grants were available for native plantings for ecological restoration for 1ha up to 300ha, manuka/kanuka plantings for coastal erosion for 5ha to 300ha and exotic plantings, such as eucalyptus for timber, for 5ha to 300ha.

Extra funding may be available to assist with erosion-prone country, preparation and fencing.

Plantings under the scheme could be eligible under the Emissions Trading Scheme or be used for planting new commercial forests.

The programme had 10 years to run, until 2028.

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-By David HIll

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