May 21, 2015
Stop-start forest subsidy good but limited
A rebooted forestry planting scheme in today’s budget could be a boost for some Maori owners of marginal land, but could be too small to make a major impact.
The Afforestation Grant Scheme will make available $22.5 million over six years to encourage the planting of up to 15,000 hectares of new forest.
It revives a scheme which saw 12,000 hectares planted between 2008 and 2013.
Maori forestry consultant Chris Karamea Insley says that scheme and the similar East Coast Forestry Project were about erosion control.
The new scheme is being talked up as addressing regional development, net deforestation and climate change obligations.
"They talk about the potential to meet New Zealand's international emission reduction targets. In that context this announcement is insignificant but coming back to their objective of addressing soil erosion issues, it will make a contribution there," Mr Insley says.
He says forestry is a long term business, and changing the rules every five years doesn't give iwi and other landowners the certainty they need to invest.
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