As John Barrow's term representing Tararua on the Horizons Regional Council comes to an end after nine years, he says he is still working for the constituency.

The Regional Council has acted to curb some planting of pines in the Tararua.

At its meeting on June 25 the council was considering changes to the operation of its Sustainable Land Use Initiative (SLUI) scheme, known as "Right Tree, Right Place".

It aims to reduce the amount of erosion in the Manawatu catchments by identifying the most erodible hill country as top priority and planting in pines while subsidising the planting of poplar poles on slightly less erodible land.

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In its Executive Summary the Horizons Regional Council reported growing interest in afforestation, especially through pines and manuka had led to a large increase in funding applications for winter 2019 planting.

"In order to manage these applications changes to the afforestation grants have been proposed including diverting some applications through the One Billion Trees fund and limiting the amount of funding to farms that are converting more than 50 per cent of a farm to forestry and capping the contributions to forestry on a farm to 150 ha/year per farm."

At the meeting councillors debated the issues, with Councillor Barrow initiating a clause.
"The council strongly discourages funding to those properties that do not enable the continuance of pastoral farming on land not considered top or high priority land under the SLUI programme."

It then directed the chief executive to write a letter to the Minister and chief executive of the Ministry of Primary Industries to seek analysis and action on unintended consequences, including environmental risks and socio-economic damage to rural communities of some elements of the One Billion Trees programme and to advocate for stronger alignment with the 'right tree, right place' approach to implementation.

This was passed unanimously.

Councillor Barrow says each rate payer in the region pays $39 per year to support the SLUI scheme and he felt buyers of properties planning to plant pines on them, who already gain government subsidy for the One Billion Trees programme should not get further subsidy from Horizons to plant them.