Up to NZ$180 million for tree plantingRegional Development Minister Shane Jones says up to NZ$180 million of his new NZ$3 billion fund will end up being spent on his plan to plant one billion trees over the next 10 years - and it could see some Landcorp farms converted to forestry.
He said after the Budget in May the new Forestry Service, to be located in Rotorua, would be established. That would have its own budget line and up to NZ$180 million would go into trees.
He warned it could take some time for the tree planting programme to ramp up. About half the trees would be planted by commercial forestry operators as part of their usual business. The other half would be a mix of Crown planting, community organisations and the Department of Conservation planting native trees.
Jones plans to use Landcorp land for forestry - and Jones would not rule out some Landcorp land converting from dairy or other activities for the tree planting. He said that was up to the Landcorp Board, but he believed there were too many eggs in one basket.
"And I think that Landcorp is not only a farming enterprise, it's a land use enterprise. As we roll our climate change ... I think Landcorp has every capacity to play its role as New Zealand's best farmer. If that involves forestry, it gets a big fat tick from me."
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