I can get on board with this whole positivity thing. Even turn a blind eye to government spin, if it means a heap of trees get planted.

500,000, 1 billion, 2 billion, I don't care, let's just have it done. Planting trees, on so many levels, is a good thing to do.

Erosion of soil from hillsides. Plant trees. Leaching of nitrates and animal effluent into waterways. Plant some trees.

Read more: Vaughan Gunson: Re-establishing housing as a human right is legacy worth pursuing.
Vaughan Gunson: Ngapuhi settlement process needs time and good will from all of us


Food that's less water-intensive than animal products ― how about macadamia, chestnut, avocado, fig, walnut and olive trees?

Many reasons for planting trees, then, and that's before getting to the big one, global warming.

Planting trees will take that nasty (though useful from nature's point of view) carbon in the atmosphere and sequester it in a tree trunk.

To that aim, this Government wants 1 billion trees, mostly radiata pine, planted on marginal land over the next 10 years. This will go some way towards meeting our carbon reduction targets under the Paris Agreement.

An important driver of this will be the resuscitation of New Zealand's Emissions Trading Scheme.

If managed correctly, a functioning carbon market will enable forest owners to profitably sell carbon credits to industrial polluters, including farmers who'll be (very) slowly phased into the scheme.

Key to this will be a price per tonne of carbon that's at least in the $15-$20 range, the point where forest growers can expect to go from breaking even to making a profit.

So yes, existing landowners will be able to make relatively easy money from planting trees. Not an option many of us have.

It will be an option, however, for Maori who still own land collectively, and which for various reasons hasn't yet been developed commercially.

The ability to make shared profits for the community and do something for the environment could be an attractive proposition.

It's even conceivable that millions of pine trees planted in the years ahead will never be harvested.

Because radiata pine doesn't like shade, over time native species that do will slowly take over. In a hundred years or so, a hillside of pine trees will have reverted to native bush. That's not a bad outcome.

If you haven't any spare land to join this wave of tree planting, you can always volunteer, like thousands of New Zealanders already do each year. There are choices available to do tree planting via the Northland Regional Council's website, www.nrc.govt.nz, (search "volunteer").

If you fancy doing something more radical, and like me, you've filled up your quarter acre section, there's rogue tree planting, sometimes known as guerrilla gardening.

Find a piece of disused ground near home and plant a tree. Subversive maybe, but I can assure you will be better received than tagging.

An interesting conversation you'll have with police if caught late at night with a shovel in a hole and an avocado plant in your duffel bag.

Perhaps we can become a nation of tree planters. As something to base our national identity on, I don't mind it.

Immigrants and refugees entering the country will receive a shovel and Palmers garden voucher.