Actually Jacinda, foreign ownership of our Forests IS a big deal


Very worrying piece of journalism from RNZ…

Green Rush: Foreign forestry companies NZ’s biggest landowners

Despite a clampdown on some overseas investment, including a ban on residential sales to offshore buyers, the Labour-led government has actively encouraged further foreign purchases of land for forestry through a stream-lined ‘special forestry test’.

Since the government was formed, the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) has approved more than $2.3 billion of forestry-related land sales – about 31,000 hectares of it previously in New Zealand hands.

Of that, about half has been sold via a streamlined ‘special forestry test’ introduced by the government last October.

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Overall, nearly $5b of sensitive land has changed hands through the OIO since the government was formed.

…this extraordinary land grab has been bewilderingly shrugged off by the Prime Minister…

Jacinda Ardern: ‘Nothing wrong with NZ forests being under foreign ownership’

The PM says they are not against quality, foreign direct investment in New Zealand.

“What we are opposed to is the investment going into our housing market, which really doesn’t benefit anyone.”

…actually Jacinda, foreign ownership of Forests IS a big deal. Firstly because of the speed

“They have gone from owning nothing in 2015, as far as we can tell, to now owning 77 and a half thousand hectares. they had an Overseas Investment Office approval just go through last month to buy another piece of land,” Newton says.

New Forests calls itself a “sustainable real assets investment manager offering leading-edge strategies in forestry, land management, and conservation”.

…and secondly, with the future collapse of our beef and milk industry to synthetic milk and meat, the land conversion to forests is going be the new boom industry and the Prime Minister seems fine with that level of foreign ownership to rob us of any advantage.

With the climate crisis, we need to urgently plant more tress and convert intensive dairy farms into forests and allowing foreign interests to gain a foothold in this new frontier is not the solution.

Seeing as the PM likes to DJ, maybe she needs this on loop…


  1. “Jacinda Ardern: ‘Nothing wrong with NZ forests being under foreign ownership’ ” Let’s cut out the euphemisms and say it in plain English, whereby it becomes the government being comfortable with large tracts of NZ land being owned by foreigners – and if it’s not wrong for foreigners to own valuable New Zealand land then it must be right. Not so.

    That’s our future, and our children’s children’s future, which should not be jeopardised for the usual short-term profits. Shame on the PM.

    “What we are opposed to is the investment going into our housing market, which really doesn’t benefit anyone.” This doesn’t necessarily bear close scrutiny either, because if a bunch of Austrians or Chinese or men from Mars came and built the affordable houses which we’re also failing at, then they’d be doing many people a favour; it is also using successive govt’s failure to build houses, for another shonky equivalence.

    • Applewood: “That’s our future, and our children’s children’s future, which should not be jeopardised for the usual short-term profits.”

      Yes, it is our children’s future – being stolen from them again. We adults are the trustees of that future, and are the guardians of this land. We have no right to disregard the responsibilities inherent in this role. How long can we go on selling off what is not rightfully ours to sell?

  2. Transitioning from intensive dairying and other heavy livestock to horticulture and food production (Orchards, Avos, Vines, Berries, Nut farms, etc) – Yes.

    Transitioning to yet more cloned pine forests… yeah, …nah. NOT the best way to go by a long shot.

    “The wood industry is a massive source of uncounted carbon emissions, according to a pioneering study in North Carolina. The same is probably true globally.

    “In places where trees are replanted after being cut down, the wood industry is often promoted as being sustainable. But no one is counting all the carbon emissions associated with logging because international rules on how this should be done are wildly inadequate, says economist John Talberth at the Center for Sustainable Economy, an environmental think-tank based in Oregon, US.

    “The accounting rules were written by loggers for loggers,” he says. “That’s why you hear of agriculture as a big source of emissions, but not logging and wood products.”
    Logging Study Reveals Huge Hidden Emissions of the Forestry Industry

  3. This an extremely inefficient way of getting the trees to where we want them. With out a price on carbon for kiwi businesses to borrow against and be compititive with the rest of the market. It seems forestry conversions will remain a private property matter.

  4. All this angst about foreigners owning New Zealand land is pointless. The state is sovereign and can buy back or expropriate the land whenever it wants to. What New Zealand sorely lacks (and where this Government is delinquent) is a universal tax on land, Henry George style, which could have large landowners, whether foreign or domestic, footing much of the bill for our hospitals, schools, roads, superannuation and the rest, allowing the abolition of GST and a great reduction in our personal income tax.

  5. More to my previous comment:
    “His life-cycle analysis takes account of factors such as the carbon released as the roots of cut trees rot in the ground and the fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides applied to tree plantations. The conclusion: logging in North Carolina emits 44 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

    “That makes it the third largest source in the state, just behind electricity generation and transportation, and far ahead of farming and other industries.

    “Talberth has carried out a study like this before. In 2017, he found that logging was the single biggest source of carbon emissions in Oregon. And an independent study by Oregon State University came to the same conclusion in 2018.

    “But such comprehensive studies have never been done for other states and the rest of the world. If they were, Talberth says logging would turn out to be one of the top three or four sources of carbon emissions globally. The life-cycle approach should be adopted nationally and internationally to provide a full picture of emissions, he says.

    “The good news is that Talberth’s study also showed that if land owners adopted “climate smart” practices, forests in North Carolina could soak up 3 gigatonnes of CO2 over two or three decades. That would cancel out 20 years of the state’s carbon emissions.

    “The main such practice would be to cut trees every 60 or 90 years rather than every 30 years or less. Those cuts should be done in small patches rather than clearcutting vast areas. And foresters should grow a mix of native species rather than monocultures of alien species. Such forests would store more carbon and support more wildlife.” [Same New Sci link as before]

    If we want to regulate the way that forests are grown and harvested in Aotearoa, in order to minimise harm to our environment and to maximise benefits, just how much say would we even have if those forests are foreign owned?

  6. Some of the overseas forestry investments allowed so far ….. have in fact been examples rule breaking, money laundering and asset stripping.

    The Tolaga bay environmentally destructive timber Lahar being one such example…… Stolen money, broken rules, lies to the OIO … environmental destruction by some of the biggest thieves in the World.

    “Sarawak’s people have been elbowed out of their lands, threatened with gangsters if they dare protest and left with a monstrous eco-disaster to contend with. Yet, in return they have received precisely nothing, since owing to the dreadful low profits declared there has been little to give back in taxes to the state.

    Yet, despite this tragic ‘lose lose’ situation, these self same companies have doggedly continued over the past decades to rip out every tree they can lay their hands on in Sarawak, whilst resolutely exporting their signature style of havoc and destruction into every other forested region on the planet.”

    “Another ‘advanced’ antipodean nation to have fallen for the plague is of course the 1MDB trust haven of New Zealand. Just this week it has been reported that a company that originally pleaded innocent to careless practices and mass logging that caused a huge log jam after rains last year has now admitted guilt.” ………… ” it will come of little surprise to Sarawakians to discover that the ultimate owners of these NZ companies were none other than two more of the big six crony timber companies that dominate the state, Samling owned by the billionaire Yaw family and Rimbunan Hijau owned by another of Taib’s close business partners the Tiong family of Sibu”

    Asset stripping, how they do it ..

  7. What this lot said in opposition and what they are doing now in power shows how u trust worthy they are . Look at the TPPA deal. So far they have let down all the sectors that supported them except the unions .

  8. From the govt that “finally” brought Kiwi’s the CP-TPP comes yet more possible foreign ownership. What a surprise……..

  9. So much NZ land in foreign ownership is a big deal. There should be a cap on it.

    Profits going overseas, is one of NZ main exports now and often they are just ‘gold bricks’ investments or vehicles for satellite families to gain residency, where you can also bring in your own workforce, let the business go and destroy other businesses, and make the Kiwi taxpayers pay their imported workers and their families health care and education and eventually wage top ups and pensions. Sometimes they gain taxpayer money with losses or never pay any taxes.

    It’s not just trees it’s other land based businesses being destroyed with all the ‘funny money’ floating around in NZ.

    Waiwera Thermal Resort sacks all staff ahead of renovation

  10. Pine tree crops are not forests and hillside plantings result in a topsoil loss of about 29 tones per acre when felled. Those brown rivers we see are more often a result of pine tree harvest.
    Foreign land-banking is a significant issue for NZ, that began under the Key govt. Investment in food production in order to control supply for maximum profit, get big or get out has become the american model that our foolish leaders have followed.
    One might question more fully why SILICON Valley think tanks forecast such radical notions … I’m sure its not to gain access to kiwi farms. Or to be the ultimate rent seeker via GMO seed patents. One might wonder why the consultations for farming + water reforms were hosted not by MPI but by Wharf42, set up by a venture capitalist -selling out kiwis to silicon valley.
    As a result labours/green policy ignored the 4p1000 plan set out in the Paris accord and focused on penalising animals, not how they are farmed. It ignored building soil carbon, refused to test for various methane eating and carbon sinking micro-organisms in the soil (killed by fertiliser and pesticides) or various natural diets that produce a healthier animal wastes. Nor did account for the time old factor of building soil humus using animal waste – the cow is an efficient living composing machine, that when farmed properly builds soil humus, increasing water retention and building deeper root structure – eliminating the need for irrigation.
    The policy also ignored waste in the supply chain, fish caught in the UK flown to Asia to be processed into fillets, then flown back. Potatoes grown in Sweden, shipped to Italy to be washed and packaged in plastic and shipped back to Sweden. NZ exporting Beef to Australia and Australia importing beef here – so progressive can drive down the price for farmers and increase the price for shoppers. The centralisation of the food supply chain and the government supplementing transport and all crush local supply and feed the climate crisis by needless wasting of fossil fuels.
    The whole agriculture industry is messed up, corporate lobbyists have taken over and no one is representing the farmer or the consumer … it is worth noting that small/family farms feed 70% of the world with access to 1/4 of the farmable land .
    The corporate farming model is like the oil industry – focused on extraction and profit. It is not interested in building sustainable ecosystems, producing affordable healthy nutrient dense food, feeding and employing our local communities or the beauty of our landscapes.

  11. If you thought that was bad
    What about this?

    Or this?

    Bathurst is a foreign owned coal company the government are bending over backwards to give this foreign owned company permits to buy land to mine coal and even to prospect for coal on Crown Land.

  12. I imagine these companies will also win the right to bring in their own workers on “temporary” ten year visas and further devastate the rural communities where these forests will be located. The Govt could impose conditions to make sure NZers are employed, but since they don’t ever bother to check up later it would be a waste of time. The lack of understanding modern politicians have about how money works is frightening.

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