The One Billion Trees Project is woefully behind target even though a quarter of the billion dollar Provincial Growth Fund is being spent on it, National Party Spokesperson for Forestry Alastair Scott says.

“Broken election promises, disorganisation and policy incompetence was the overarching theme in today’s Forestry Estimates Hearing where Forestry Minister Shane Jones turned up and failed to explain away the mess he’s making.

“The Government says it has secured only 1000 hectares to plant 1 million trees this planting season, from a budget of $245 million allocated from the Provincial Growth Fund for forestry.

“The Minister also said he believes pine is the future of forestry in New Zealand, as natives can’t play an effective role in carbon sequestration and climate change goals, which will bitterly disappoint his Green party colleagues.

“Only 13 per cent of trees planted to date under the One Billion Trees project have been native.

“The Minister’s coalition colleagues use the words ‘right trees in the right places’, but there is no evidence to say that any thought or scrutiny is going into the One Billion Tree planting process.

“We all want healthy, diverse forests, strong logging and local wood processing industries and progress on reducing greenhouse gases. But these things don’t happen by chance. It takes responsible policy mechanisms, it takes a plan and it takes hard work – not qualities the Minister is known for.

“All this money, very little output or strategy. This is a classic case of lost opportunity for the Forestry Industry,” Mr Scott says.

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