There was a small protest at Parliament yesterday.
The participants were from farming backgrounds and were complaining about the Government’s apparent intention to destroy farming communities throughout the land.
What could they have been referring to?
Collette Devlin filed this backgrounder. The article contains this passage:
The group … believes farmers are being painted as environmental vandals by the Government and will ask for a fair go on emissions, water regulations, land use changes and mental health.
The group says the Billion Trees Programme is threatening the viability of rural New Zealand and wanted to urge politicians to listen to the farming community, [spokesperson Andy Scott] said.
His message to the politicians was that their current policies were doomed to fail and the blanket planting of pine trees was a failed concept that only kicked the can down the road.
The group was not denying climate change or opposed to the programme but believed it could be done in a more sensible way, he said.
What these more sensible methods are I was not able to ascertain. Although the organisation’s website has this paper suggesting that the zero carbon goal is nothing more than a feel good project. It also presumes there is a god given right of farmers to continue to farm meat, despite the damage this causes to our climate, our waterways and our landscapes. And it takes some imagination to think that planting trees has an adverse effect on landscapes and on birds.
It is anticipated that the billion tree programme will result in the forested area of the country increasing from 1.7 million to 2 million hectares over the next nine years. Farms occupy 12.1 million hectares. And the least profitable most marginal land is the land most likely to be converted. This is hardly radical change.
And it has been happening for a while as has the sale of farms to overseas entities.
This did not stop National from doing a treble somersault with a backward dismount and make it sound like they were opposed to the country’s general climate policy direction.
I mean this is pretty formidable sleight of hand when you think that the country signed up to the Kyoto Protocol as well as the Paris Accord on climate change under National, and that National supported the Zero Carbon Bill becoming law.
Trees should be the least of farmers’ worries. Climate change should be front and centre of their concerns. Which is why this group’s world views and goals are hopelessly unrealistic.