Pine-forest regulation proposals creating lots of heat

Friday 29 Apr 2022

Right now, there is a fervent debate underway as to where pine trees fit within our future landscape. On one side stand New Zealand’s Forestry Minister Stuart Nash and Climate Change Minister James Shaw. They are proposing that existing legislation should be reversed so that pine trees would only be for production forestry and not so-called permanent forests.

Minister Nash has recently come to a position that only native forests should be permanent, and he is supported by many who hold strong environmental values. Dame Anne Salmond is one of the leaders in that camp.

In contrast, Minister Shaw is concerned that if permanent pine forests are allowed, then too much carbon will be stored in this way and urban people will no longer be forced to modify their carbon emitting behaviours. There are some huge ironies there.

On the other side stand iwi groups who own large areas of steep erodible land, often far from ports, for which permanent pine forests linked to carbon farming are by far the best income earning opportunities. These forests are also an excellent solution to the erosion problems.

Alongside these iwi groups, but perhaps not generally as well organised, are many pakeha sheep and beef farmers who also own areas of steep erodible land. If either economics or minimising soil erosion is the goal, then permanent non-harvested pine forests on this class of land are the obvious answer. Somewhat ironically, their industry organisation Beef+Lamb does not seem to support them.

This overview might seem to describe a complex situation. Dig a little deeper and everything gets even more complex and confusing. Who is right and who is wrong? As always in this world that we now live in, there is both information and misinformation. And some of the fervent believers do not understand when they are on shaky ground.

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For further coverage of the views aired at a public meeting on Tuesday night where Damien O’Connor, the Minister for Trade and Agriculture, fronted up to a packed Pongaroa Hotel in rural Tararua to discuss the suggested changes, click here

Further recent opinion appearing in the Gisborne Herald can be read here

Source:, Stuff

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