While the Government needs to look into carbon farming in New Zealand, farmers can also play their part to stop the practice from getting out of hand, Minister of Agriculture Damien O'Connor says.
Rural communities have expressed concern that prime sheep and beef land is being sold and then planted in pine trees to gain carbon credits.
O'Connor agreed that pine was not the way to go and said the Government had to ensure "we have the right tree in the right place".
However, it was Kiwi farmers who were selling this land and the Government couldn't get involved, he told The Country's Jamie Mackay.
"We do have some farms that have been planted in radiata – probably inappropriately – but these have been sold to New Zealanders.
"When we intervene and tell a farmer, 'you can sell to this person but not that' within New Zealand - it gets a bit tricky.
"So, the farmers selling to those people who are going to plant them in pine trees should think again – maybe they should just sell to a farmer who is going to farm the property."
There were "a lot of issues" to work through and O'Connor said the Government was committed to tweaking legislation because pine trees were "not appropriate".
"Clearly there is a need for us to make some adjustments now because having radiata pine planted for permanent forests is not environmentally sustainable.
"Indigenous forest, yes - in the right place. So, these are the issues we're working through."
There were also "a lot of people who have invested a lot of money" and O'Connor said there was a need "to make sure that they don't lose that all overnight".
"So there's a transitional process that is needed, clear signals that we do not want the wrong tree in the wrong place."
He said the issue was something he was currently looking into.
"It's both changes to the RMA, to the National Environmental Standards that were negotiated for forestry – all of these things require tweaking and indeed I was discussing that very issue at length yesterday."
Also in today's interview: O'Connor said New Zealand agriculture was in good shape for 2022 and discussed what Omicron could mean for the health system.