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Ed Sheeran

Natives take centre stage in billion tree strategy
Minister Shane Jones and members of Te Arawa Iwi

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Forestry Minister Shane Jones says iwi Māori need to look for ways to grow more native trees.

The Government's Billion Trees initiative is coming under fire from farmers who fear it will lead to a reduction in rural services as land is converted, and also from people concerned that growing more pine forests won't help New Zealand meet its carbon emission reduction targets.

Mr Jones says he may need to do more to explain the case to farmers, but he's excited by work done at Scion, the crown forest research institute, to speed up production of native tree seedlings.

"I would say to Maoridom this is a kaupapa every single hapū should jump on board. It will outlive the current personalities who inevitably can’t agree with one another on the marae or in the hapū but that’s politics, I live with that reality every day in parliament, but planting trees is a long term restorative kaupapa which will have positive impacts on the local population, the local environment, and the local economy," he says.

He was pleased this week to see his ministry partner with Te Arawa landowners under the leadership of Te Taru White to plant more than 200 hectares this season.


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