A billion trees? Not so fast…it’ll be only half a billion, if that

Shane Jones had to go on television yesterday morning and deliver some bad news, but not to worry it would all be hidden beneath the news that Jacinda Ardern is pregnant.

Nonetheless it is a broken promise before a single tree is even planted:

The Government is scrambling to find enough land to meet its target of reaching 1 billion trees in 10 years.

The Labour/New Zealand First coalition committed to the target, which would require a doubling of the 50 million trees already being planted annually – 270,000 a day on average, or 100 million a year.

But Forestry Minister Shane Jones told The AM Show his team is facing a “real challenge” finding the space.

“The Government in this context is not going to go into the business of buying land.

“There is a lot of land out there – [but] the farmers are leery [and] the Māori often find it difficult to agree, as you’re seeing in Waitangi.”

The Government will only boost the current 50 million trees bring planted annually by 10 percent this year, Mr Jones says. That would bring the total to 55 million – well short of the target.

It’s not realistic to say it can be done exclusively by the Government,” Mr Jones says, adding it was “always a target for the industry”.

“Seventy percent of the forestry sector is already owned by foreigners.

“With the right sort of incentives and improvements to the Emissions Trading Scheme they’re telling me they can boost their contribution.

“With the billion-dollar fund dedicated to forestry, mark my words, I’ve got officials finally realising they have to surplus land to avoid them becoming redundant.

“The state can’t do it alone… it’s about $8000 a hectare to buy land so I don’t have the necessary money to scream around buying the land.”

“But I’m assured by the officials they will go out and find the necessary blocks of land. It’s going to ramp up.”

We won’t be hearing “a billion trees” shouted in parliament anymore. It was all a lie, they are now only going to plant 500 million trees, if that, and the rest is delivered by the private sector. “Half a billion trees” doesn’t quite sound the same.

It is a joke, there are only 4 million seedlings available to plant, and the government has taken them all…that is still 96 million seedlings short for the first year.



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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.