“The announcement that overseas investors intending to purchase farmland for forestry will be treated consistently with other investors will come as a welcome relief to rural New Zealand”, says ACT’s Climate Change spokesperson Simon Court and Primary Industries spokesperson Mark Cameron.

“Our farmers are some of the most efficient food producers in the world, feeding New Zealanders, earning export dollars, producing enough food to feed 100 million people and underpinning our rural communities”, says Simon Court.

“However, the Government’s tree planting subsidies and special investment rules have given large forestry investors an unfair advantage which is driving small farmers out. Farm sales have gone beyond marginal land, with productive farmland being sold off to overseas investors. The policy of large-scale afforestation is a threat to jobs, families and rural communities.

“The forestry industry has a track record of making investment decisions without subsidies and regulations. We should be mitigating the impacts of climate change, but there must be a level playing field without distorting subsidies.”

“Rural New Zealand is being covered in pine trees thanks to carbon farming. It’s too important to New Zealand to hobble with bad climate change policies”, says Mark Cameron.

“ACT has long pushed for the removal of subsidies for commercial forestry investment and changes to overseas investment rules so farmers and forestry investors are on a level playing field.

“Every day I hear concerns about the impact of carbon farming on rural communities as more and more land is purchased through the streamlined Special Forestry Test for the sole purpose of carbon farming. This has a wider impact on rural communities as more land is converted for permanent carbon farms.

“Last week, I questioned Damien O'Connor in select committee about this this exact subject.

“The Government’s decision to place forestry investors a level playing field with everyone else is a rare win for rural New Zealand.”