Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is denying that the Government is backtracking over its goal to plant 1 billion trees over 10 years, saying it was always going to be in partnership with the private sector.
Forestry and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones told the National Business Review today that the Government was going to plant about half of the 1 billion trees, while the private sector would plant the rest.
“[The one billion goal] is not something that is going to be pursued in isolation from the industry. If we work together, if they continue with their 50 million [a year] over 10 years and we continue with 50 million [a year] over 10 years, you get to a billion.”
This is pretty dishonest. Had the government partnered with the private sector to plant the billion new trees over the next 10 years, that would be fine.
However, the 50 million trees planted by the industry are only planted to replace trees that they’ve already cut down. That’s net zero trees from the industry. In fact, we’ll need to be planting more than that, as the trees planted in the 1990s have been forested.
This is just more fudging of the numbers. Half a billion isn’t enough, hence the promise of 1 billion. It’s quite disappointing to see this from a promising government.