Media release by the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of NZ
Disastrous government policy
An outdoor and conservation forum says the loss of a boy’s life at Waikanae Beach near Gisborne and devastation to rural communities show the obsession by government with planting pine trees is not only environmentally disastrous but in terms of people’s well-being.
Andi Cockroft, chairman of the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations, said government and the corporate forestry industry must bear moral responsibility for the child’s death as well as the devastation to communities and the environment.
“The Labour-led Government’s ‘One Billion Trees’ dream was short-sighted,” he said. “The ambitious policy championed by NZ First’s Shane Jones was foolish — the Green and Labour Parties were parties to the stupidity and now the loss of human life and destruction of rural farms and homes.”
The pine monoculture is mainly foreign owned
He said the littering of North Island east coast beaches was akin to environmental vandalism.
“It’s not just the North Island’s east coast either,” added Andi Cockroft. “The uncontrolled planting of pines, lately for carbon trading is environmentally damaging.”
“Monocultures of pine trees in many parts of New Zealand have been an environmental disaster with depleted stream flows and heavy siltation of rivers and estuaries following clear felling logging.”
“The forestry industry is over 80% foreign owned and the corporate overseas-based companies have little interest in the environment or human values. Their overwhelmingly top priority is to maximise profits. Face it, it’s the undeniable corporate culture”
He emphasised the forestry interests whether overseas or New Zealand were doing nothing illegal. The failure is with both the National and Labour-led governments of the last two decades.
Past attention about water and river quality had almost exclusively focused on so-called “dirty dairying” but there were other land-use questions to be answered.
The dangers of clear felling
The practice in NZ of clear felling pines exposed steep hill country to heavy runoff of silt and debris, when rains occurred. But run-off could be reduced by two-stage harvesting of forests, as apparently practised in Europe where felling is in done in two cuts perhaps 12 months apart, along contours thus reducing runoff.
Another ill-effect of forestry monoculture was lowered pH levels i.e. acidification of the soils and therefore increased acidic runoff into waterways.
“The pH level (degree of acidity) is important to both bottom fauna and subsequently aquatic life such as indigenous fish and trout. If the pH drops below 5.5 (increased acidity) then long term damage to the freshwater fishery, both native and trout, occurs.”
Pine trees take much more water from the environment than native vegetation and reports were where pines have been planted, stream flows were noticeably less and even disappeared.
One Malaysian owned forestry corporate in Marlborough had eroded extremely steep hill country with extensive slipping resulting and burned native bush. The Marlborough Sounds inner inlets had been badly silted up smothering the ecosystem and causing fishery declines.
Better harvesting regimes needed
Urgent study and policy should aim to implement better harvesting regimes as practised in Europe, zoning of land use to avoid extensive pine forest monocultures and making mandatory creation of 50 metre buffer zones along all rivers and streams.
Sadly, enforcement of current legislation by the responsible authorities is extremely lacking, with only scant measures taken to ensure compliance with the law. Even then, compared to the profits, any fines are trivial. The tragedy at Waikanae might have been avoided had the local Council done their job!
Barbara McKenzie said:
Excellent article, covering just about every relevant point, including the fact of foreign ownership. NZ farmland is deemed to be “sensitive land, not to be sold off overseas. The exception is land that is to be converted to forest, inevitably pinus radiata.
The only thing missing is the visual environment (nice picture up above).
Not the only thing they missed Barbara. The failed to highlight the result of pines sucking so much water out of the land that it makes it hard, almost like concrete so when heavy rains do come, those rains just run straight off the surface increasing flood risks and river bank failure. It also increase the risks of slips when water can find a crack in the surface of that shrunken hard land.
The water quickly gets to work causing a fault line and resultant slip. Heavy rains have affected both north and south islands with flooding over the past 12 months, this would have obviously been reduced if it was predominantly native bush on the hills around our cities and towns as native bush acts like a massive sponge soaking up and conserving water. These forests do not dry the land out they keep it moist and release heavy rains slowly.
Then there is also the branches bark and rubbish left behind by forestry companies that is supposed too be cleared away, but they leave it littering the hills to be washed down blocking culverts, creeks and rivers. They obviously do this to maximise profits.
On one of my local trail they obviously forgot to take away their waste oil after servicing one of their machines and there is now an oil slick that soaks out of the hill side, the leaking plastic drum buried somewhere above, it has been like this for two years now.
Lewis Hore said:
The Council of Outdoor Recreation has it bang on pines are a total disaster in the wrong place, all those wrong places should be planted in natives which will be there forever returning many but not all waterways back their original state. Manuka in a lot of areas eg Marlborough Sounds would also return dividends in the form of honey with no damage to the environment whatever. Pine trees will cause more environmental damage than what what they are supposedly saving.
Tony Orman said:
Politicians and bureaucrats scoff at concern of foreign ownership and investment calling it “xenophobic”. I call concern patriotic. The reality is those 80% foreign owners of NZ’s forestry sector, invariably corporates, don’t give a stuff about the environmental degradation they’re causing. They are focused only on maximising profits and dividends to share holders.
“NZ’s forestry sector, invariably corporate, don’t give a stuff about the environmental degradation they’re causing.”
They do it for profits from investments by the likes of celebrities, politicians and self elected leaders (Schwab and Thunderturd) who invest in forestry for carbon credits so that they can shamelessly keep polluting with their jets, unnecessary air travel, large petrol and diesel powered cars and trucks their entourage ferries them and their “must haves” around in. Their many large expensive, luxury, resource heavy homes. They do it whilst telling us you shouldn’t drive to get food or work to heat your, by comparison to theirs, tiny home.
Ben Hope said:
Cunning5tunt should go to the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations website (CORANZ) and read the articles. One in particular is “Exotic Forestry – a Monolithic Monoculture of Environmental Degradation” that I wrote. I can understand CORANZ’s latest press release not being able to mention all detrimental aspects because of length. Have a look at CORANZ’s website. I did and apart from mine, there’s lots of interesting stuff. Trouble is the mainstream media, bribed by the Labour/Greens government, won’t run anything critical of government policy.
I encourage other readers to visit the CORANZ website and go back to now and “older posts” and see the articles hitting the hard issues.
Thanks Ben, Maybe you should forward your article to the owners of this blog so subscribers that might not have read this post can read it.
Thank you again.
Here is a link to the article you wrote.
Charles Baycroft said:
Farming and silviculture are productive business activities that provide desired products for willing buyers.
In a free market, the owners of land will utilize it in the most productive nd sustainable manner they can manage so as to improve their productivity in the short and longer terms.
The people from”the government” then come along and start messing with things that they do not understand and mess them up as usual.
Some career buraucrats and politicians decide to promote and subsidize or discourage and regulate various uses for their advantage and perhaps that of influential funders of political parties.
Now these misguided authorities have decided to pretend to be saving the planet by encouraging foreigners to buy productive farmland and plant pine trees that will not be harvested on it.
At the same time they are imposing legislation and taxes on productive farmers to discourage them and also significantly increase the cost of living for most citizens of New Zealand.
What will this vitue signalling and interferring with people’s lives and freedom achieve?
Are the 5 Million people of NZ going to SAVE THE PLANET?
No, it will achieve no significant “climate benefits” because our “emmissions” are an insignificant percentage of the global total and, if properly accounted for, the existing vegetation in NZ probably takes up more CO2 that we produce.
Carbon credits are a new financial product that can be sold and purchased without producing anything or providing any value for willing buyers.
This carbon credit industry has been supported and promoted by government legislation that will significantly increase people’s cost of living, generate revenue and profits for the financial elites in this industry and generate more goivernment revenue by taxation fees, permits and fines.
People might have been pursaded by propaganda to believe that this zero carbon legislation will benefit them and the planet.
It will not!
On the subject of allowing non-resident, foreign ownership of land in New Zealand .. it amounts to selling off our children’s inheritance.
Quite frankly – it’s not ours to sell. The current generations in charge are just baton-holders. We were handed everything by our forebears .. and we are meant to hand it on to future generations, in the same or better condition than we received it.
Selling to foreign interests is simply short-term profit-taking.
Land ownership is wealth-creating. Past generations gained a lot of their wealth from buying and selling land. Why would we hand future wealth-creating potential .. to non-resident foreigners?
Foreigners often pay amounts of money for land based on international perceptions of value. This greatly distorts the local real estate market. Much of the land that has been sold offshore .. has been valued at a figure that bears no relationship to it’s ability to earn income. This puts this land beyond the reach of anybody who must convince a bank to give them a mortgage. It puts it beyond the reach of most New Zealanders.
(This has been a significant driver behind putting owning their own house beyond the reach of a rapidly-growing number of Kiwis.)
To see land sold, and then put into pine trees .. is heart-breaking. Especially when it is otherwise productive land. That is simply compounding one mistake .. with another.
Especially when the foreign buyer .. often a large corporate who does not give a toss about any local, detrimental impacts .. simply wants to secure the carbon credits, or offsets .. so they can carry on the rest of their operations overseas somewhere, as per status quo.
In days gone buy, the benchmarks were always money / greed / economic activity / economic growth.
Surely .. SURELY .. by now, we must all be recognising the folly of that approach.
New Zealand’s decision to allow this sort of behaviour .. and continue to go down a path of recognised folly .. amounts to rank stupidity.