Government Flip-flopping Helping No One – 50 Shades of Green


Last week’s letter from Minister Shaw and Nash is baffling.

“While we consulted on options to prevent exotic forests from registering in the permanent forest category by the end of the year, we have now decided to take more time to fully consider options for the future direction of the ETS permanent forest category. …this means it is unlikely that we will propose closing the permanent category to exotics on 1 January 2023”

This backflip which we can only conclude has come about on the back of opposition advocacy but with no context for doubling down is unbelievably odd, given last week’s CCC urgency around limits to offsetting with exotic pine. If Māori concerns were what has driven this backflip those concerns could have been dealt with through an exemption’s regime. Now we are left with no plan, no certainty and even less faith of any decent plan to manage climate change and pollution from industries who have shown little urgency around change while they can merrily plant our food producing hill country in an exotic that will never be harvested and therefore provide no economic benefit to New Zealand.

At least that proposal was something to work with and plan around.

It has the odour of another rushed policy that came out to start with pulling back, reminiscent of a disconnected, scatter gun approach, it fixes nothing and helps no one. Where is the plan for addressing the issue? It is widely recognised that planting pine is already so out of control and with no real plan in place we have a government being irresponsible in the face of the emergency here

It is a gloomy future for New Zealand as we let carbon farming, an industry that doesn’t add any jobs, nor produce any exports replace a sector that delivers both those things and maintains provincial communities. Unless you are a carbon farming investor enjoying income off the price of carbon, or a fossil fuel emitter, not one New Zealander benefits from this flip flop. It is a pollution offset and a get out of jail free card.

It is absolutely crazy these guys can offset 100% of everything they emit or pollute, while farmers who actually contribute to every New Zealand household get hardly any recognition for any of their sequestration. It is vital farmers get what is in the HWEN proposal at least.


  1. Exactly – the policies now don’t make sense and often disagree with common sense.

    Huge amounts of NZ is currently being bought up and it is aimed at the rich with the size being over 100 HA (thus small NZ farmers/lifestyle blocks don’t get the same carbon benefits and discourages them to put land into native forest).

    The returns of large sizes are millions of dollars around year 7, but as discussed deprive local communities of jobs, land and income.


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