Bungle over tree planting in Northland, seedlings mulched, money wasted

Minister of Planting Lots of Trees, Shane Jones, has admitted there has been a stuff up in a planned planting of 1.2 million pine trees in Northland. Only 200,000 seedlings could be planted as most of the land was not sufficiently prepared for the planting. Some seedlings were redistributed, but many were mulched at a cost of $160,000.

This is particularly embarrassing because in May this project was promoted as the first of a billion trees to be planted.

Stuff:  Forestry projects get Government boost

Northland forestry projects which will create jobs and sustainable developments have been given a helping hand by the Government.

Te Uru Rākau (Forestry New Zealand) and the Ngāti Hine Forestry Trust have signed a joint venture agreement to plant and manage around 3,600 hectares of pine trees on the trust’s land. Up to 465 hectares of mānuka will also be planted, which would provide work experience for young people.

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, Labour MP Willow-Jean Prime and Forestry Minister were among those gathered at a symbolic tree planting ceremony on May 31.

Ministers, including Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Forestry Minister Shane Jones, and MP Willow-Jean Prime planted a pine tree to acknowledge the announcement on May 31, which marked the first joint venture in the Government’s plan to plant one billion trees.

But this week (ODT) Billion trees bungle: Land unfit for planting

Forestry officials working on the Government’s flagship One Billion Trees plan ordered more than one million pine seedlings for a block of land so choked with scrub and weeds planting couldn’t go ahead.

Forestry Minister Shane Jones told the New Zealand Herald “ambition” and “enthusiasm” had a part to play in planting delays which struck the $32 million inaugural joint venture on the Far North forestry block.

(RNZ): Local iwi takes blame for $160k tree planting botch-up

The local iwi have taken responsibility after about 400,000 seedlings bought by the government to plant in Northland went to waste after the land was too wild to plant on.

Ngāti Hine has put its hand up with the trust chair, Pita Tipene, saying he’s ultimately responsible.

“What the taxpayer and the government can be assured of is that the total number of hectares over the years will be planted as planned.

“It’s just that we made a little bit of a blue in 2018 in being over zealous in our planning.”

Mr Tipene said it’s not the end of the world because the land will still be there next year and it will be ready to be planted – albeit it later than the government hoped for.

Forestry Minister Shane Jones said the cost to the taxpayer was about $160,000.

A deal was done between the Crown and the Ngāti Hine Forestry Trust in the Far North earlier this year and 1.2 million seedlings were bought to be planted.

Mr Jones said only 200,000 seedlings were successfully planted because the land wasn’t up to scratch.

“Well the land is untamed land, it’s wild, and obviously the analysis that was done on the ground was a lot more ambitious in terms of what could be delivered upon,” he said.

It looks like they (Jones, the Government and Ngāti Hine Forestry Trust) rushed into this without being properly prepared, or were too optimistic that they could manage this scale of planting so quickly.

Jones wanted greater power to push projects past bureaucratic delays, but this suggests he needs more checks on his recklessness with large amounts of taxpayer money.

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33 Comments

  1. Strong For Life

     /  November 14, 2018

    I suggest this will not be the last failure due to Jones’ pork bellying.

    Reply
    • High Flying Duck

       /  November 14, 2018

      It certainly isn’t the first…

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  November 14, 2018

        Trying to decide whether you meant “pork barrelling” or whether “pork bellying” was a deliberate choice of words. Haven’t been able to reach a firm conclusion because I can see that either might work. Clarification appreciated.

        Reply
  2. lurcher1948

     /  November 14, 2018

    I blame it all on Jacinda,now if only Sir Key had not ran away to the board of the ANZ he would have planted them instead of sending $1000000000 over the ditch to Australia

    Reply
  3. David

     /  November 14, 2018

    What on earth is the point of this vast expenditure given Jones now says we have to use migrant labour to find enough people to plant the taxpayers trees, didnt this coalition promise in the campaign less migrants because of the pressure they put on services ?

    “Jones said he had spoken to industry about immigrant labour and was looking for greater assurances around “pastoral care” before allowing workers in from overseas.”

    But he would not rule it out. “There’s an acute shortage of arms and legs to plant these things.”

    Seriously, taxpayers money for a job creating scheme..but jobs for migrants ! Is he trying to ease the unemployment problem in the Philippines and teach them valuable skills.

    Reply
    • I thought that unemployment in Northland was well above average, and that Jones championed regional development.

      Reply
      • David

         /  November 14, 2018

        I thought that was the whole idea, he talked of his family members sitting around smoking dope etc and needing a boot in the bum when all along it has been about lining the pockets of his mates and now they get to profit off the back of cheap foreign labour.
        I am all for planting trees but this is more about graft and back handers.

        Reply
        • artcroft

           /  November 14, 2018

          Yep, someone is going to make a lot of money from this and none of the problems in Northland will be solved. Jones is also lazy and careless, he’s a ticking time bomb in Jacinda’s lap.

          Reply
        • Gezza

           /  November 14, 2018

          Jonesy clearly has a lot fewer “nephs on sofas” than he would have had us believe.

          Reply
  4. Corky

     /  November 14, 2018

    Socialism>> Bureaucracy>> Maori>>Jonsey = failure.

    Once again an example of why we need way less government in our lives. The problem is New Zealanders have been house trained to rely on the government to control every facet of their lives, either directly, or indirectly.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  November 14, 2018

      No this is just a classic example of what happens when lazy Ministers make business decisions based on relationships rather than competencies. This won’t be the last embarrassment Jonesy will visit upon this government. He’s arrogant and lazy and he’s in an ideal portfolio to show those strengths off.

      Reply
  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  November 14, 2018

    Just a couple of minor details overlooked – who will plant them and where.

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  November 14, 2018

      These people could learn much from a hospital pre-op check: What is your name? Why are we operating? What, and which side of your body are we operating on? Are you allergic to any medication?

      Simple stuff. And taxpayer would still have 160 thousand in the Kitty.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  November 14, 2018

        There is no resemblance between the two things.

        I would hope that a hospital wouldn’t need to ask the patient what, where and why…..I’d expect the surgeon to know and not take the patient’s word for it. What if the patient is brought in unconscious ?

        Reply
  6. robertguyton

     /  November 14, 2018

    “Minister of Planting Lots of Trees, Shane Jones, has admitted there has been a stuff up”
    Admitted there has been a stuff up !!!
    Imagine if Murray McCully had admitted the Saudi sheep deal was a stuff up!!
    You can’t, can you. National MPs just don’t do “admitted”.

    Reply
    • Maybe Winston Peters could learn something off Jones about admitting stuff ups, but I doubt it.

      Maybe Metiria Turei could admit a major political bungle.

      But this really has little relevance to this tree non-planting fiasco.

      Reply
      • robertguyton

         /  November 14, 2018

        “Fiasco”, Pete?
        “Forestry Minister Shane Jones said the cost to the taxpayer was about $160,000.”
        Fiasco? End of the world stuff, Pete?
        “Mr Tipene said it’s not the end of the world because the land will still be there next year and it will be ready to be planted – albeit it later than the government hoped for.”

        Reply
        • David

           /  November 14, 2018

          So how would you describe the flagship greenie policy of planting 100 million trees a year now we are 12 months into this government. How many trees has Jones managed to get into the ground, ones that wernt going to be planted as NZers go about their usual business.
          Where are the Green voices holding the government to account, what about all the millions of tons of carbon that could have been sucked out of the atmosphere if this government did what it said it would do…doesnt matter to you Robert does it because its all team sport politics and damn the environment. Sad, we see your true colours.

          Reply
          • robertguyton

             /  November 14, 2018

            Not “fiasco” David. That’s just daft. As is your asking,
            ” How many trees has Jones managed to get into the ground,”
            You’ve clearly not done a lot of tree planting projects, David. There’s plenty that needs to be done before “new” trees go into the ground. Unless you have a magic wand, you’ll need to do a lot of preparation which can’t be done in an instant: trees grow at a certain pace, David and wishing them into the ground has little effect on their growth rate. As a nursery-person with years and years of experience in growing and planting trees, I’d be happy to expand on my comment with details, but I suspect you don’t really care about the reality of reafforestation.

            Reply
            • David

               /  November 14, 2018

              Wasnt me who said I would plant a billion trees it was your guys, you are pretty hot on others not keeping their promises but a policy one would have thought of great importance to you is falling apart and not being delivered and you sit around and make excuses.
              Trouble with leftist is they always have the idea but never the stones to actually implement it, they just arnt equipped with the skill set.

            • robertguyton

               /  November 14, 2018

              You’re criticising the Government for not having planted the “billion trees”, David?
              Hilarious.
              Did you expect them all to be in within a year?
              Maybe you thought they’d be mature by now; towering giants; New Zealand, forested from the Cape to the Bluff.
              Dreamer.

            • Pink David

               /  November 14, 2018

              “There’s plenty that needs to be done before “new” trees go into the ground. Unless you have a magic wand, you’ll need to do a lot of preparation which can’t be done in an instant: trees grow at a certain pace, David and wishing them into the ground has little effect on their growth rate. As a nursery-person with years and years of experience in growing and planting trees, I’d be happy to expand on my comment with details, but I suspect you don’t really care about the reality of reafforestation.”

              Perhaps you could offer Shane your services. He seems in need of some expertise in this field.

            • Maggy Wassilieff

               /  November 14, 2018

              I have done lots of tree -planting and run/managed a few revegetation projects.

              Ngati Hine had been in negotiations with Shane Jones since October 2017, at least.
              Earlier this year they were saying that they could put 500,000 trees into the ground
              http://www2.nzherald.co.nz/the-country/news/article.cfm?c_id=16&objectid=12062124

              Obviously, they didn’t have a clue.

              They had not prepared enough land for planting this past winter… The land is still covered in pine slash from the previous harvest and tall scrub growth.

              If the land isn’t cleared of scrub and slash this summer, (i.e. NOW) there won’t be much planting happening next year either.

    • Corky

       /  November 14, 2018

      That’s true, Robert. It’s about confidence..or lack thereof. Righties like to keep voter confidence high.

      Reply
  7. duperez

     /  November 14, 2018

    There’s a suitable hunk of land up north at Mokau they should’ve used. It’s only 81ha but likely worth a tad more than $160,000. You know, where our money was used to buy a farm for the charter school.

    Paul Goldsmith said of the forestry botch-up that more work should have gone into checking the deal out before signing it. A nice symmetry.

    Reply
    • robertguyton

       /  November 14, 2018

      That Goldsmith purchase sounds like a fiasco, duperez! I’ll do a search for the word on Pete’s blog – he’ll surely have the Mokau Incident tagged under “fiasco”.

      Reply
      • duperez

         /  November 14, 2018

        Can’t credit Goldsmith for it, it’s Parata’s. But he was undoubtedly in the House on the days when I saw her questioned about getting our land back and bullshitting.

        Reply
    • George

       /  November 14, 2018

      A mate in the business whispered that there’s a few thousand hectares of -replanting- currently required around the country.
      But he didn’t say it loud enough for Tugger to hear…

      Reply
  1. Bungle over tree planting in Northland, seedlings mulched, money wasted — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition
  2. Bungle over tree planting in Northland, seedlings mulched, money wasted — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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