Comment: Provincial communities will shrink if productive farming land is converted to forestry, writes Federated Farmers Hawke's Bay Provincial President Jim Galloway.

We need someone from the Government to come out to rural communities and clear up misconceptions about the new interest in forestry conversions.

We are seeing productive land leaving the food cycle at a time when many provincial communities are struggling to retain essential services such as banks.

So effectively, are we looking at the provinces being shut down?


I do not think provincial New Zealand can take another hammering and rise back up again.

Read more from Federated Farmers here.

We are still seeing the ongoing ramifications of social engineering from the 1980s when small towns were maimed.

If productive farming land is going to be taken out with trees, we are going to see provincial communities shrink.

Pine trees do not go to the meat works or spend money at the local shops, they also take longer to grow than a cow.

Pine trees also do not go to school.

So if rural schools experience a roll drop, the schools will not get the funding they need to hold teachers.

If the teachers go, the schools shut down and then people will not come to live and work in rural New Zealand.


And don't get me started on the damage to the roads at harvest.

Premium - Wairoa farmer warns of forestry's threat to industry

There seems to be no clear plan about what is going on with forestry conversions or if it is supposed to have positive outcomes for provincial communities.

People are worried because there is an information vacuum. When there is an information vacuum, people are left to build their opinions based on history.

In our community, and of immediate concern, is Wairoa and Waipukurau.

If trees go in and stock comes off the land will the local meatworks survive?

There are not as many employment opportunities in Wairoa and Waipukurau as there are in Auckland and Wellington – or wherever this policy was formed.

Imagine if the people who dreamt up these policies had to live in the world where their policies reigned.

In short, there needs to be information released about what the game plan here is. Do we all get to win?