Source: Federated Farmers
Changes to forestry rules announced earlier today will put power back into the hands of local communities, Federated Farmers forestry spokesperson Toby Williams says.
“These new rules will give local councils, who are accountable to the community they represent, much more say over what is planted – and where it’s planted.
“We’ve seen in Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay the kind of damage that can be caused when forestry slash is mismanaged – it was totally devastating for our communities and we’re still recovering,” Williams says.
There will now be a requirement to remove slash from erosion-prone land, and the environmental effects of permanent pine forests will need to be managed the same way as plantation forests.
“Federated Farmers have been pushing really hard for this for some time now, so it’s great to finally see some action that will make a difference for our rural communities.
“Farmers have been incredibly frustrated with the amount of productive farmland that’s being lost to blanket pine tree plantations.”
In the last five years alone there have been more than 200,000 hectares of productive farmland converted to pine trees and carbon farming – and it will probably never be farmed on again.
“This has completely hollowed out some of our rural communities. As the pines have moved in, the people have moved out – and the life of these small towns has gone with them.
“Federated Farmers generally hold a view that landowners are entitled to make their own decisions about how to use their land, but in this case rules and regulations have completely distorted the market,” Williams concluded.