The issue of forestry development, raised at last week's Tararua District Council meeting, has been one that has troubled retired Dannevirke farmer Roger Ramsden for some time.

Ramsden approached the Dannevirke News last week to voice his concerns at the amount of good farmland that is being planted in pine trees.

"Are we going too far with planting pine trees at the cost of farming?"

He said what people didn't realise was that a farmer would get more income from raising sheep and cattle as there was no income from trees for many years.


Ramsden said landowners should think twice before planting their whole farm in trees.

"It's a long time waiting for them to mature and in the meantime they're not making any money."

He said a lot of good farming land was going into trees and stock numbers were going down.

"If you plant your farm in pine trees, in 30 years' time when they come to maturity the whole way of building could have changed and we may not want all that wood."

He said during that time technology in the building industry could have changed massively.

"When all the trees are felled, all the landowner will be left with is stumps and rubbish and you can't grow anything in future as the trees have sucked all the goodness out of the soil."

Ramsden said there needed to be a good hard look at the situation.

"We should be finding places we could plant trees other than on good farming land. They need to be planted in poor country that cannot support farming."


Ramsden said the other factor to consider with forestry development was increase in heavy logging trucks and the damage being done to the district's roads.

"People in Kumeroa and Hopelands are having to put up with a large number of logging trucks in the area.

"They are just about being driven mad with the noise of the trucks, which are also wrecking their roads.

"It's not fair on those trying to farm, having to put up with the racket from the trucks."

He thought perhaps logging companies should pay a higher road tax to compensate for the damage their trucks were causing to the roads.

He raised the issue of the deteriorating state of Route 52, the Wimbledon to Weber road.

"Locals have waited years for that road to get fixed and with all the logging in that area it's only going to get worse - and who's going to pay for it?"

Ramsden's other concern with increased forestry was the impact on the country's rivers, lakes and seas.

"They are being poisoned."