50 Shades of Green is urging the government to pause the carbon zero legislation until a cost benefit analysis is done:
As it stands experts believe it will cost a lot and achieve little.
Conservation group 50 shades of green is asking the government to immediately hit the pause button, check the policy settings and have a full cost benefit analysis.
50 shades of green spokesperson, Mike Butterick said that the legislation as it stood was a recipe for financial and environmental disaster.
“The legislation is estimated to cost the economy up to $12 billion a year or $8000 for every household,” Mike Butterick said. “Try finding another $160 a week to support political ideology when you’re on the minimum wage.
“The way the government is trying to mitigate its carbon emissions is nothing more than a band aid which will achieve nothing long term.
“It is incredibly short sighted by our current politicians. Their legacy for future generations will be tarnished.
“50 shades of green want to work to mitigate the effects of climate change but the Zero Carbon Bill won’t do it. It’s not just the opinion of the group but also that of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.
“Time now for a pause and a move towards a lasting and long term solution,” Mike Butterick said.
Government incentives are distorting the market, incentivising sales for forestry over farming:
The median price of forestry farms across New Zealand has increased by 45% over the last year from $6,487 per hectare to $9,394 per hectare according to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) source of the most complete and accurate real estate data in New Zealand.
This increase may be largely the result of the Government incentives to plant trees making forestry land more desirable and leading to increased sales of sheep and beef farms.
Interestingly, the North Island is seeing a greater impact on forestry prices than the South Island.
Bindi Norwell, Chief Executive at REINZ says: “Over the last few months there has been a growing voice from the rural community that the Government’s incentives towards planting trees are favouring forestry sales and leading to increasing sales of beef and sheep farms. With the price of forestry farms across New Zealand increasing by 45% when compared to the same time last year, the data tends to suggest that the rural community is correct in its assertions. . .
They are also correct about the detrimental impact on rural communities:
Wairoa Mayor Craig Little is nervous.
In the last eight months 10,000ha, 7% of his district’s remaining pasture land, has been sold for forestry and he estimates it will cost 60 direct and indirect livestock farming jobs while creating 15.
Little’s primary concern is the impact on local communities and services but also on the district’s largest employer, Affco’s Wairoa meat works, which gets a third of its stock locally.
“More forestry planting threatens our sheep and beef industry, our local economy and the district’s largest employer.” . .
Little says the pace of land use change worries him and his community and is the unintended consequence of Government incentives for its Billion Trees programme.
The land use change cannot be considered a gradual redistribution of land use as claimed by Forestry New Zealand chief executive Julie Collins in the Farmers Weekly last week, he said.
“For us it is an alarming rate.
“If they keep going at that rate we’ll have no farmland left.”
A briefing paper Little prepared for a meeting this week with Government ministers says 2017 agricultural census figures show 1000ha of forestry directly and indirectly employs 1.5 people. For the same area of sheep and beef farming the figure is 7.6 people.
While supporting the Billion Trees programme Little says the scale and scope of forestry planting poses a catastrophic risk to rural communities like Wairoa. . .
There is a place for forestry but it’s not on productive farmland which threatens food production, export income and the jobs and social fabric for which they provide a foundation.
Tararua Mayor Tracey Collis fears the cumulative impact of fewer children at schools, the loss of volunteers and the impact on local retailers as people leave the area when trees replace livestock.
Collis respects the right of landowners to sell to whoever they wish but the speed of change has surprised her.
In the 2017-18 year four Tararua farms were sold to forestry but in 2018-19 it was 12.
“It’s a large increase very, very quickly.”
Forest companies are buying land with easy access and better quality soils, which is not consistent with the Government mantra of right tree, right place, right time. . .
It’s also not consistent with the Paris Accord which states that climate change mitigation measures should not come at the expense of food production.
If you care about this issue please sign 50 Shades of Green’s petition asking that legislation which incentivises the blanket afforestation of farmland be rejected.