Posted on Thursday 15th November 2018
The showpiece venture in Northland that kicked off the government’s much-vaunted One Billion Trees programme earlier this year has received a setback.
A deal struck between the Crown and the Far North’s Ngati Hine Forestry Trust to plant 1,110 hectares of an eventual 3,600 hecatres with Radiata Pines during the 2018 season came unstuck because much of the land was covered in thick scrub that was unable to be cleared in time.
According to an investigation by the New Zealand Herald, of the 1.1 million seedlings bought to go into the ground, just 191,000 were actually planted, meaning only 191ha of new forest was established.
Some of the seedlings raised but not used this year were sent to other projects, but more than 400,000 of the taxpayer-funded young trees were left-over and unable to be used, going to compost instead.
The land, situated between Kaikohe and Moerewa, was previously forested, but had laid unused for more than six years, allowing thick scrub to take over. The Herald says Ngati Hine documents it has seen indicate the Trust failed to find a commercial partner to assist with the task of clearing the land to help with the 2018 planting.
Te Uru Rakau (Forest NZ) acknowledges the issues with planting over the recent winter season but says the rest of the site will be developed for plantation forestry over coming years and the project will get back on track.
Forestry Minister, Shane Jones, at a ceremony to mark the signing of the joint venture in June.
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