Wednesday, 29 January 2020 11:25

The journey’s only just begun!

Written by  Mike Butterick, member of lobby group 50 Shades of Green
Lobby Group 50 Shades of Green says rural people are greatly concerned by the rapid change of land use from sheep and beef production into blanket planting pine trees. Lobby Group 50 Shades of Green says rural people are greatly concerned by the rapid change of land use from sheep and beef production into blanket planting pine trees.

Member of lobby group 50 Shades of Green, Mike Butterick on what the group is standing for in 2020.

What an extraordinary nine months since the first meeting in the Wairarapa of people concerned with the rapid change of land use from sheep and beef production into blanket planting pine trees. 

It’s been quite the journey; our conclusion is a lack of strategic thinking and a reluctance to get out from behind Wellington desks has driven some bizarre decision making delivering perverse outcomes for NZ Inc. NZ farming won’t be digging itself out of these impacts with production gains. 

We are opposed to the sale of good productive agricultural land to subsidised forestry in the way of carbon credits. In our view, it’s undermining all kiwis’ short- and long-term wealth and wellbeing. 

The blatant attack on the culture of the sheep and beef industry, which produces 48% of the country’s agricultural export income, is abhorrent. 

The Paris agreement, to which we are signatories, states we should ‘increase the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low GHG emissions development in a manner that does not threaten food production’.

We can tick things off in terms of lowering GHG emissions development, but for every hectare of hill country lost we threaten food production in this country. 

As recently as this month, the release of the climate change school curriculum resource is explicit in its ‘eat less meat’ messaging and misinformation about New Zealand agriculture’s contribution to global warming.

Where is the balance? 

The appreciation for a sector that in embracing change has consistently produced a product with an advantage on the global stage is sadly lacking. A competitive advantage under threat of being replaced with an orchestrated subsidy driven by carbon investors filling their pockets, with sheep & beef production the sacrificial lamb. 

The farming sector with a genuine ethical intent accepts change is needed. This is happening now and has been for much longer than is depicted. 

For every hill country farm taken out of production there is a flow-on effect that eventually will impact all New Zealand. The sooner New Zealander’s understand carbon offsetting with trees is a folly the better.  While conveniently laundering emissions, it will not achieve any change in behaviour, worse; it will deliver adverse environmental outcomes and significant social and economic outcomes. 

These costs borne, initially by the provinces, will hit ultimately the wider community. 

What is humbling is the widespread supportfrom all walks of life for 50SOG advocacy, of people equally concerned for the long-term future of the industry and who have a clear sense that allowing carbon investors to buy up quality hill country farms to plant in pine is a ‘get out of free’ card. The trees may be sequestering carbon; they are not feeding people nor supporting rural communities

We encourage right tree right place, but not where the cost to NZ is land converted from food to pine. 

To see more balanced reporting celebrating the continued improvements to NZ farming systems would be a better start. 

If you would like to support 50 Shades of Green in its advocacy please contribute to our campaign costs at https://www.50shadesofgreen.co.nz/become-a-supporter

• Wairarapa farmer Mike Butterick is a member of lobby group 50 Shades of Green

More like this

No threat to farming from forestry

OPINION: There’s some agitation out there at the moment about farming being under threat from forestry. Much of what’s circulating is based on misinformation so it’s time to lay out the facts.

Featured

 

Fonterra back in the black

Fonterra chief executive Miles Hurrell says 2019/20 was a good year for the co-op, with profit up, debt down and a strong milk price.

Strategy to reduce heifer mastitis

First calvers are more prone to mastitis than older cows. According to DairyNZ, farmers must choose a strategy that best suits their herd, farm team, and budget.

National

Helping grow farming’s future

John Jackson’s ability for future and critical thinking saw him deeply involved in the development of an agribusiness programme that…

Nothing sustainable without profit

Chair of Dairy Environment Leaders programme Melissa Slattery believes that sustainable farming is highly important to young farmers.

Machinery & Products

JD updates header line-up

John Deere has updated its entire header line-up for combines to include the new HDR Rigid Cutterbar Drapers, RDF HydraFlex…

Hybrid harvesters launched

New Holland has entered the world of hybrid headers, launching a new machine that blends its conventional threshing drum and…

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Burn!

OPINION: This old mutt had to have a giggle at the dig Feds recently made at the Green Party in the…

Why?

OPINION: Your canine crusader was aghast to read that the prices of zucchini and cucumbers rose more than 30% in…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter