No trees on good pasture

LETTER

Foreign-owned forestry is now really turning on us and biting our backsides. About 100 jobs have been lost at our local plywood factory and, with most forestry land now owned by foreigners, not much profit remains locally if any.

As I have said before, we have shed 40 percent of our stock units in the past 30 years, worth $200 million per year to the district — say $4400 per head of population.

I now hear on the “grapevine” that Landcorp is going to plant Parikanapa Station in trees.

This 3669ha property acquired by the Crown in about 1994 is prime pastoral hill country, and it would be sacrilege to plant it in trees. Sure, plant land that is erosion-prone but not good pasture land.

The new Government has made commitments to bolster the regions — planting trees on good grassland will not achieve that.

We need business activity that brings people back to the district, not reduce demand for labour — and the huge flow-on effects of rural depopulation on schools, support businesses, health providers and, very importantly, rural social activities.

John McElhinney

Footnote from Landcorp/Pamu Farms of NZ head of communications Simon King:

Parikanapa is a very productive and profitable hill country farm for Pamu and we have no current plans to change the composition of the farm. Last year we did plant 157 hectares of erosion-prone hill country on the farm, to ensure we were protecting these areas from potential erosion. We will consider future planting on other erosion-prone areas of the farm as required.

These plantations are positive from both a financial and environmental perspective.

Foreign-owned forestry is now really turning on us and biting our backsides. About 100 jobs have been lost at our local plywood factory and, with most forestry land now owned by foreigners, not much profit remains locally if any.

As I have said before, we have shed 40 percent of our stock units in the past 30 years, worth $200 million per year to the district — say $4400 per head of population.

I now hear on the “grapevine” that Landcorp is going to plant Parikanapa Station in trees.

This 3669ha property acquired by the Crown in about 1994 is prime pastoral hill country, and it would be sacrilege to plant it in trees. Sure, plant land that is erosion-prone but not good pasture land.

The new Government has made commitments to bolster the regions — planting trees on good grassland will not achieve that.

We need business activity that brings people back to the district, not reduce demand for labour — and the huge flow-on effects of rural depopulation on schools, support businesses, health providers and, very importantly, rural social activities.

John McElhinney

Footnote from Landcorp/Pamu Farms of NZ head of communications Simon King:

Parikanapa is a very productive and profitable hill country farm for Pamu and we have no current plans to change the composition of the farm. Last year we did plant 157 hectares of erosion-prone hill country on the farm, to ensure we were protecting these areas from potential erosion. We will consider future planting on other erosion-prone areas of the farm as required.

These plantations are positive from both a financial and environmental perspective.

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