A billion or half more trees

National MP Simon Bridges has accused the Government of halving it’s tree planting plan. Yesterday a press release from Simon Bridges: So, half as many trees then?

Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is already backtracking from his promise to plant a billion trees in 10 years, National Party Economic Development Spokesperson Simon Bridges says.

“From his statements earlier today it appears he’s realised that the pledge of a billion new trees is entirely unachievable and now he’s attempting to back away from it,” Mr Bridges says.

“His problem is that the target is recorded unambiguously in both the Labour-New Zealand First coalition agreement and the Speech from the Throne on the new Government’s programme.

“Now he wants to count around 50 million trees that are already planted every year, about half of the billion he’s committed to over a decade. These are happening regardless of his slush fund or the kind of Government in power.

“So his first action is to cut his target in half. Not exactly impressive.

“He needs to immediately stop using his slogan of 1 billion trees to be planted because it’s completely untrue. He should also stand up in Parliament and correct the Speech.

“This backsliding is becoming a pattern for this Government. They want to count trees that are already being planted in their tree target and houses already being built in their housing target. It’s all very underwhelming.

Included in the Labour-NZ first coalition agreement:

Coalition Priorities

In this parliamentary term, New Zealand First has a number of priorities to progress which Labour will support alongside its policy programme. These include the following goals:

Regional Economic Development and Primary Industries

  • $1b per annum Regional Development (Provincial Growth) Fund, including:
    • Planting 100 million trees per year in a Billion Trees Planting Programme.

That implies a Government Fund for a Billion Trees Planting Programme.

From the Speech from the Throne:

The New Zealand Forestry Service will be re-established and located in regional New Zealand. This government is committed to a new planting programme, planting 100 million trees a year to reach a billion more trees in ten years.

That says “a new planting programme”.

But news reports had made it clear the plan was to double existing tree planting numbers.

Newshub on 25 October: Revealed: Shane Jones Minister for 100 million trees, $1 billion regional fund

Shane Jones will be the Minister responsible for spending $1 billion a year on New Zealand’s regions.

Newshub has also learned that Jones will also be in charge of the new Forestry Service, which will plant 100 million trees a year – with the goal of planting a billion over 10 years.

It is understood that about 50 million trees are already planted in New Zealand each year, meaning the new Government’s planting will double that.

That clearly says doubling to 100 million trees a year, or to 1 billion trees in total.

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern told the AM Show on Wednesday the fund will help grow the regions.

“Labour went to the election with a $200 million fund. NZ First came to us and made the case strongly for greater regional investment, particularly around infrastructure. So this fund will include, for instance, a number of regional rail projects,” she said.

“It will include an extensive planting regime for forestry. Our intention is to double the amount of planting that goes on in forestry right now.”

A clear statement of intent to double the number of trees currently being planted.

Ardern responded to Bridges accusations yesterday – 1 billion-tree aim ‘always a joint goal’

But Ardern told reporters yesterday the Government was never going to plant 1 billion trees on its own.

“We’ve always been really clear. We see a role for the Forestry Service to work alongside those in the private sector to ensure we’re supporting the planting of those trees.”

She pointed to Air New Zealand’s announcement on Tuesday to work with the Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry for Primary Industries to fund tree-planting over up to 15,000ha in return for carbon benefits.

“Overall our goal is a billion trees being planted. It would be splitting hairs trying to decipher whether or not that [tree] was solely Government [or] solely private sector … this is a collaborative approach.”

Labour and NZ First may be guilty of not being absolutely clear about their intent on tree planting in their agreement and in the Speech from the Throne, but it seems clear from other reports that they intended to double plantings to 100 million a year.

I think to most people both half a billion and a billion trees is a lot, and they won’t care (if they notice) whether it is a doubling of planting or additional.

Bridges needs to be careful he doesn’t inherit the ‘barking at every passing car’ syndrome.

On this he looks a bit pedantic and guilty of petty nitpicking.

Leave a comment

43 Comments

  1. Blazer

     /  November 23, 2017

    don’t forget the Streisand effect i.e that Nationals critique will highlight the policy,and people like Trav will be out planting thousands of trees on their ..own.A billion,1/2 a billion..who cares,its all good.

    Reply
    • PDB

       /  November 23, 2017

      The only “Streisand effect” with this new govt is all their noses have grown considerably since taking the reins as they break most of their election promises.

      Reply
      • Also Pete, there are half a billion planted already, so the while half a whole billion is patently off message.

        50 million is currently the status quo

        Reply
    • We’ve planted many this year and we’ll continue until we die or lose our abilities. This will annoy you b, something I know is quite easy to do, but I have also donated land under the Open Space Covenant to the QE11 National trust and am proud to promote the organisation and it’s aims.

      This now much diminished, proposed planting programme needs to move away from pinus varietals mono culture and get busy planting NZ natives and in my opinion, emphasise Manuka for bees.

      If anyone is interested an excellent article if you’re considering covenanting land.
      http://www.openspace.org.nz/Site/About_covenanting/Covenant_benefits/default.aspx

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  November 23, 2017

        you have many good points and some commendable projects…I accept that.

        Reply
  2. Ray

     /  November 23, 2017

    On its own it would appear to be an example of “dog barking at cars” syndrome but when added to all the other backing away from pre-election promises, let’s say a bit of a trend is building up.
    Early days yet, let’s give the Government some time.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  November 23, 2017

      They may have inherited the National malaise….’aspirational ..targets’!

      Reply
    • NOEL

       /  November 23, 2017

      Show me evidence of any party who in opposition offered the world and then had to modify their position once in Government.

      Reply
      • PDB

         /  November 23, 2017

        This new govt is setting new standards in massive back downs in key election policy planks within the first month or so.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  November 23, 2017

          if it was aspirational, the Greens should have said that they HOPED to plant that number-not that they were GOING to…and they said they were going to plant 1.2 billion trees.

          Reply
  3. “This government is committed to a NEW planting programme, planting 100 million trees annually to reach a billion in ten years” I would emphasis the word new and the number 100. They are read together.

    So, it turns out that they’re saying 50 million (as a govt initiative)added on to the continuous, constant planting of 50 million by industry. 50 million is actually standing still as it is mere replacement.

    Nowhere was this indicated. So, I call bull on Jacinda calling it semantics, it’s worse than fudging, it’s worse than deceitful, it’s worse than electoral overreach.

    Reply
    • PDB

       /  November 23, 2017

      Your conclusion PG doesn’t match your post – news reports AFTER the new govt was announced only go to show how they immediately began to backtrack from what was sold to the public originally as a billion NEW trees under a NEW govt initiative.

      No right turn: “Partnership with the private sector is one thing, but misleading the public about the ambition of the policy is another. Because the 50 million trees a year private industry currently plants is almost entirely replanting, replacing trees which they’ve already cut down. In other words, that’s just planting to stand still. Worse, the required replanting rate is going to soar over the next decade, as the forests that were planted in the 1990’s are harvested. If private industry wants to avoid deforesting land (and paying the carbon costs for doing so), it will probably end up planting that billion trees itself.

      Meanwhile, if we want to get the emissions benefits, we need to plant additional trees, not just replant harvested land. The billion trees policy looked like it was an ambitious target to do this, and bring our emissions under control. Instead, it looks like it is just more bureaucratic fudging, designed to give the impression of action while deliberately avoiding achieving anything substantive.”

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  November 23, 2017

        I agree, Trav. we were told that a billion trees were TO BE planted-and I understood that they were to be new trees. If I said that I was committed to planting six trees in my garden, wouldn’t you think that I meant new trees, not the six that I have already planted ?

        Sorry, Jacinda, this is fudging/weasel words/playing with words…0/10.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  November 23, 2017

          re the example you give..no one wouldn’t.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  November 23, 2017

            If you told me that you were committed to planting x trees, I would assume that you meant new trees, not existing ones planted some time ago. If someone told you that they were committed to going out to dinner, would you think that they had gone out to the dinner weeks ago ?

            One ‘has’ commitments-those may well be existing things-but a commitment to doing or making new things means that this hasn’t happened yet.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  November 23, 2017

              If it was the planting of existing trees, one would say ‘I made a commitment to plant x trees, and I did so (or was unable to).’

              ‘I have made a commitment’ means that one hasn’t yet carried this out.

            • Blazer

               /  November 23, 2017

              don’t know about dinner,but some would definitely have been out to…lunch.Its about context.’I am committed to planting 6 trees in my garden,4 so far,2 to…go…understand.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  November 23, 2017

              Not at all. Anyone who cares about clarity would say “I am committed to having 6 trees in my garden; I need two more.’

              ‘I am committed to planting 6 trees.’ would be a very odd thing to say if one had already done so and was not intending to plant another 6. One would have to say ‘I was committed to …..’

      • robertguyton

         /  November 23, 2017

        [Deleted. I’m not going to keep asking and warning. PG]

        Reply
  4. Alan Wilkinson

     /  November 23, 2017

    Politics 101.

    1. Promise the earth.
    2. Take credit for what someone else is doing/has done.
    3. Forget all your promises asap and make new ones.

    Reply
    • High Flying Duck

       /  November 23, 2017

      Damn.
      We all thought this Government were tits, but they are following the playbook perfectly!

      Reply
  5. Zedd

     /  November 23, 2017

    I keep hearing/reading this new Govt. is backing away from their ‘promises’.. FFS they have only been in power for a month ! Give them a break folks

    Natz were in for 9 LOOOOOOOOONG years & what have they really got to show; increased GST, waste of $26mi flag ref., constant blame of everything but themselves; GFC, ChCh quakes & prev. Lab Govt. “Mind the Gap’, housing crisis etc.

    btw; where are the 9 bridges in Nthld that Bridges promised.. before getting the boot ?
    Yes definitely sounds like many Natz are developing the ‘barking at every passing cars’ syndrome ! 😀

    Reply
  6. Corky

     /  November 23, 2017

    Giving breaks is for pansies. We are out to destroy this Labour government, once and for all.
    And we are on the RIGHT track to make that a reality. 💣

    Reply
    • Zedd

       /  November 23, 2017

      give ME a break, corky..
      you reportedly didnt vote.. remember 😦

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  November 23, 2017

        Correct. Doesn’t mean I can’t play. Remember what I have previously stated” ”National is the best of a bad bunch.”

        Reply
        • High Flying Duck

           /  November 23, 2017

          I just hope the Nat’s are learning from being in opposition rather than doing what Labour did after Clark & Cullen, thinking the voters will come to their senses soon and vote them back in.
          That sort of of thinking is what leads to 9 years in opposition.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  November 23, 2017

            If you dodn’t vote, your opinion is meaningless.

            Reply
            • PDB

               /  November 23, 2017

              ‘Not voting’ is a valid means of voicing one’s political views under a truly democratic voting system, unless you agree that voting should be compulsory?

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  November 23, 2017

              No, because we know that that doesn’t work; all that happens is that some people make their voting papers useless.

              But anyone who doesn’t vote cannot complain about the government, as they are not prepared to spend a few minutes doing anything towards having the government that they want.

            • phantom snowflake

               /  November 23, 2017

              There are a few “angles” on the issue of non-voting; here’s one. I’ll use Corky and I as an example. It’s difficult for both of us to find a party that represents our political views; he, because he is somewhere to the right of Genghis Khan, I because I am somewhere to the left of…Pol Pot. That doesn’t invalidate our views, and we both have a keen interest in politics.This scenario explains one cohort of the “missing million” of non-voters.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  November 23, 2017

              But isn’t it better to look for one that is near to what you believe rather than risking having something that’s the opposite ?

            • PDB

               /  November 23, 2017

              Surely if you thought all the choices were crap at voting time & therefore no one deserved your vote you can continue to complain about whoever was put into govt post-election?

            • Corky

               /  November 23, 2017

              Yes, well put, PS.

            • phantom snowflake

               /  November 23, 2017

              Kitty: In short, compromising may lead to one feeling compromised.

          • Corky

             /  November 23, 2017

            Agree, High Flyer. National does have a tendency to believe they have a divine right to rule. That they will have. But they need to work for it, and, as someone has suggested- not being prattish over slight mistakes Labour makes.

            I sense the media-although left leaning- now has less tolerance for bs from all political parties.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  November 23, 2017

              Not at all. One needn’t be so rigid and inflexible that one cannot accept any sort of compromise. To compromise is not not the same as being compromised.

              If nobody voted unless the party was prepared to give them everything they wanted, there would be few votes cast.

              I wouldn’t call a margin of error of half a billion ‘a slight mistake’.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  November 23, 2017

              It would show a certain level of arrogance to dismiss every party and every candidate as crap.

            • phantom snowflake

               /  November 23, 2017

              Kitty, when your response is to state the obvious, several times, I’m left puzzled as to whether you are intending to patronise or have simply missed the point. I’ll probably never know…

  7. robertguyton

     /  November 23, 2017

    Right wingers here demanding that trees get planted!!!
    Marvellous!!!
    How far we have come!
    Go Green!

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  November 23, 2017

      When the country reverts to subsistence tribal living and has accordingly killed off approximately 4,500,000 people to achieve this splendid natural state, the Greens will truly have Gone.

      Reply
  8. Corky

     /  November 24, 2017

    Right wingers here demanding that trees get planted!!!

    No, Righties are demanding Labour/Greens/Winnie get cracking planting trees.

    Something to do with ‘election promises.’ 😄

    Reply
  1. A billion or half more trees — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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