The forestry industry says Whanganui District Council is trying to double-dip with its proposed forestry rate.

The targeted rate would more than double forestry's contribution to roading and is one of three key proposals in council's draft 10-year-plan.

The council estimates the impact of harvesting on roading will cost $225,000 per year over the next six years but it currently only collects $90,000 from forestry properties.

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Under the proposed targeted rate, forestry properties would pay two and a half times more what they currently pay for roading to make up the balance.

Currently forestry pays an average $4 per hectare in roading rates while the average for other farming land uses is $15 per hectare owing to the relative lower value of forestry land.

Arbor Management's Peter Martin, a forest owner himself, told Tuesday's long term plan submission hearings the proposed rate was "selective and unfair".

He said no one lived on forestry properties but general rates were still charged on them.

"As forestry owners we are paying rates for elevators, museums, libraries, roundabouts, Virginia Lake and so it goes on."

Instead the general rate paid on forestry properties should be transferred to the roading contribution, Martin said.

"That would only be fair."

His son, Woody Martin, said because owners paid general rates on their forests and the property they lived on it seemed unfair to add a targeted rate.

"You seem to be wanting to double dip which I don't think is fair to be honest."

The pair also said the proposed roading rate was not fair because logs coming off many Whanganui forests went directly to state highways and never touched a council road.

Forestry owner Dougal McIntosh said the industry made a huge contribution to the Whanganui economy in other ways and so the forestry rate was unwarranted.

He brought with him a 25c seedling to illustrate his point.

"This has the ability to create over its life [25-30 years] value for the owner and create much more value for this community and district and ultimately the New Zealand Government through the taxation system," he said.

"This seedling will experience eight to 10 different elections in national and local body politics all with different political agendas."

Forestry investments faced decades of risk from weather, economics, trade and politics but the community benefited when they were harvested through paying local contractors and labourers and delivering profit back into the community.

"All on the strength of this little tree," McIntosh said.

Sally Sisson from Forestry Management (NZ) Ltd said Whanganui had been considered forest friendly and had attracted planting.

"Forestry needs to be considered in more general terms, i.e. the economic benefits it brings to the district as a whole."

Councillors will debate long term plan submissions later this month.