50 Shades of Green

Right tree, right place, right purpose

50 Shades of Green

50 Shades of Green is a group of volunteers concerned about the future of New Zealand and New Zealand’s food and natural fibre security.  

Since its launch in May 2019, 50 Shades of Green has worked to raise awareness of the threat to our hill country farms as the speculation on the price of carbon, the ETS and changes to the OIA result in the loss of productive farmland to investors, both nationally and internationally. 

We are asking the government to stop the blanket planting of good farmland immediately.  We are not against planting trees, nor against forestry.  We do believe in the right tree, in the right place, for the right purpose.

Our hill country farms have become the sacrificial lamb in our country’s effort toward managing climate change.  Mitigation practices that allow emitters of man-made gases to kick the can down the road at the expense of farming is a temporary step that does not benefit NZ in the short, nor the long term.  We  ask that the ETS Bill before Parliament LIMITS the amount of emissions that can be offset by forestry.  This bill proposes to lift the carbon cap and it is widely acknowledged the impacts of this will result in more conversions of farms to carbon forestry. 

We do not minimise the gravity of what NZ is facing but; it cannot be overlooked that the devastating impacts of COVID-19 has brought into stark view how farming is an economic anchor for New Zealand.   It has also demonstrated that farming is not the problem. In fact, it is increasingly being appreciated for its lifeline at this challenging time.  While clean water, clear skies and improved air quality come when transport and industrialisation stop polluting the atmosphere.  Planting trees instead of growing food on productive hill country farms does not make sense and highlights the folly of government policy feeding at scale and pace the amount of productive land being converted to carbon farming.

  • The Paris Accord is clear.  Efforts to mitigate climate change should not come at the expense of food.  
  • Seeing good pastoral farmland going to forestry is at the expense of food
  • We are looking for a common sense solution for the long-term balance of the New Zealand landscape 
  • 50 Shades of Green, working toward protecting the economy and to protect what we value for future generations.  
New Zealand hill country farms. Where the land feeds our communities, our economy and the world – every day – even when times get tough. 
Please help us by donating to the cost of our 2022 national billboard campaign:

That beautiful, productive land should go into trees is crazy
Read more on farmersweekly.co.nz (opens in new tab)

This is, in a nutshell, why we ask the Government to hit the PAUSE button on the blanket planting of productive farmland.  
TVNZ Q+A – The One Thing

Latest News & Updates

Kiwi sheep and beef farmers are passionate about playing their part to protect our biodiversity, but the Government’s current definition of a Significant Natural Area (SNA) is far too wide. It doesn’t fit the objective of protecting truly “significant” biodiversity and instead, is tying up a large percentage of farms in red tape. Help change this policy by emailing ministers here: https://kiwisbackingfarmers.nz/make-your-voice-heard

In partnership with B+LNZ we are launching the @KiwisBackingFarmers campaign.
The campaign is aimed at raising awareness for the overwhelming wave of environmental policies and proposals threatening the future of NZ’s sheep and beef farms. In particular for us, that the Government urgently needs to curb the out-of-control conversion of sheep and beef farms into carbon farms.
Learn more >

This report released today (16 Feb), outlines the real risk that short-term land-use decisions will be made to the detriment of long-term land-use flexibility, rural communities and export returns.

Listen to this excellent interview with Gisborne District Councillor Kerry Worsnop explaining the massive amount of dollars the NZ Government is gifting to carbon investors.

29 Sept – New Article: “Carbon farming – what is the end goal?”  Read more here >

Play Video

Watch our new ad: The March of the Pines.

16 July – RNZ Interview Nine to Noon with Kathryn Ryan: “Mass rural protest across the country”  featuring Kerry Worsnop, Sheep & beef farmer and Gisborne district councillor and Groundswell organiser, Jamie McFadden. Listen here >

Landscape change ‘by stealth’, as working farms continue to sell to forestry. Read more >
Stuff  |  22 April 2021

Our Primary Concerns

What is happening to a community near you? Displacement is happening now around jobs and communities.

Job displacement: We estimate 7.6 farming jobs = 1.5 Forestry jobs (Analysis: Data from Stats NZ Wairoa District territory. Using the 2017 business survey results: Forestry employs 1.5 people per 1000ha in plantation forest. Conversely farming employs 7.6 people per /1000ha of pasture)

This is a business risk whether a regional or national footprint. Loss of business, loss of community.

If PFSI are a reality this one job will likely be zero. Communities need the RIGHT TREE in the RIGHT PLACE, NOT the WRONG TREE in the RIGHT PLACE.

Trees have their place in our landscape and economy but wholesale plantings of a single species will destroy communities, ecosystems and our economy.

Will the Tora walk still be an international tourist destination when the only view is trees? In actual fact will NZ still be a desired destination?

Rocky Hills was in DOC’s words “deemed nationally significant” and was also in NZNFR trust’s top three projects. Now gone forever. We also had numerous 4WD rallies where people came to experience stunning views, what would the appeal be now?

Rocky Hills was approximately 2300ha’s and sold to forestry 3 years ago. Given its significance we tried to sell it as a regional farm park as we know it had some of the Wairarapa’s best biodiversity and scenery. GWR, DOC NZ Native Forest Restoration Trust, Local Mayors and other parties tried very hard to make this happen. The tragedy is, it has now gone forever

Article 2 states that we should: increase the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development IN A MANNER THAT DOES NOT THREATEN FOOD PRODUCTION

We don’t believe food producers are being fairly treated. It is a double whammy that taxpayers are paying for via subsidies provided to forestry one the one hand, and the loss of export earnings to the county on the other other

A review of the emission target options in ‘Our climate your say’

The Zero emissions by 2050 target is a $200 billion ‘feel good’ project. Compared to the alternative, the zero carbon target, the zero emissions target could cost an additional $200 billion; is unlikely to have a material impact on the behavior of the rest of the world; on innovation in New Zealand, or generate significant ‘co-benefits’.

> Read full report (PDF)

What the proposed amendment bill will do

The purpose of the amendment bill is to provide a framework by which New Zealand can develop and implement clear and stable climate change policies that contribute to the global effort under the Paris Agreement to limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5° Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The original proposal was for a separate piece of legislation called the Zero Carbon Bill. The Government has now decided to introduce it as an amendment to the current Climate Change Response Act 2002. This will ensure that all key climate legislation is within one Act.

The amendment bill will do four key things.

  1. Set a new greenhouse gas emissions reduction target to:
    • reduce all greenhouse gases (except biogenic methane) to net zero by 2050
    • reduce emissions of biogenic methane within the range of 24–47 per cent below 2017 levels by 2050 including to 10 per cent below 2017 levels by 2030.
  2. Set a series of emissions budgets to act as stepping stones towards the long-term target.
  3. Require the Government to develop and implement policies for climate change adaptation and mitigation.
  4. Establish a new, independent Climate Change Commission to provide expert advice and monitoring to help keep successive governments on track to meeting long-term goals.

> View Summary of the Bill here (PDF) – www.mfe.govt.nz

We don’t believe New Zealanders understand the effect of mass planting on our landscape, changed forever, without birdlife, cold and dark.  And for the soft stuff that sells the tourism story, even in our current climate, this is not a good outcome for this sector either.  New Zealand has a reputation for BEAUTY.  Stands of Pinus Radiata are not beautiful, nor unique.  NZ’s reputation will disappear, and like a square peg in a round hole, exotics may soak up carbon quicker than natives in the short term, but it’s not what our biodiversity goals need. 

From the pioneers to the present day, generations of New Zealanders have spent their lives in the hills of our heartland . They’ve formed communities and a lifestyle based on hard work, a love of the land and No.8 wired Kiwi ingenuity.

Through their hard work they have developed the infrastructure and productive land for livestock farming , supported by a workforce of shepherds, shearers, fencers and others who are some of the hardest working New Zealanders and an integral part of that culture.

As one of those generations who have proudly been part of that culture I feel deeply disrespected by the current government who seem to have no regard for us, our culture or our contribution to the wealth of this country and are prepared exchange us for a blanket of pine trees as an easy solution to meet the countries commitment to climate change.

This is more than unfair, it’s plain WRONG.

Lincoln Grant 

The ETS is supposed to increase fuel prices, reduce fuel use and convert us to electric vehicles (EVs). The price of carbon under the ETS is currently $25 per tonne. Each $100 increase results in a 23cent per litre increase at the fuel pump. A 2050 projected price of $350/t would result in an increase of 80c/l. In the sixteen years to 2012, the gas price rose over 80cents and fuel consumption rose by 24%.   So, how will another 80c increase between now and 2050 lead us to zero use?

Fergus Rutherford ( Baker & Ass.) shows that at $25/t forests and carbon only farming can out bid sheep and beef on all classes of land except mixed cropping. The ETS is unable to achieve its purpose of reducing CO2 emissions to zero without resulting in the planting of the majority of the 5.3M ha of non-tussock & non- dairy pasture land, and causing a big loss in food production.

The way out of this is to abandon the market in carbon credits. By directly taxing CO2 emissions the government could raise the price to whatever level was necessary to achieve the reductions needed under the Paris Accord without contravening article 2.1 by losing the food production from the sheep and beef sector. To keep faith with existing forest owners the government would need to continue to buy credits from existing forests at, or close to $25/t. Credits from new plantings should only be purchased if they have not resulted in loss of food production. Owners would need to demonstrate that the land was currently not producing or that the land remaining in food production could be farmed more efficiently, resulting in the same overall level of production

Dave Read Wairoa

Let’s not shaft farming, the foundation of the New Zealand economy for 170 years. Alternative Government policies should include:

  • Halt population growth
  • Impose a surcharge on all air travel
  • Charge foreign visitors for taxpayer created facilities
  • Target self-sufficiency in oil and coal rather than pretending that we will stop using those energy sources
  • Impose carbon credit costs on carbon based energy use, not on ruminants, which evolved 90 million years ago
  • Focus on improving productivity in construction and infrastructure, where New Zealand is very expensive and very slow

Here is an excellent article by Keith Woodford.  Keith is an independent consultant, who works internationally on agri-food systems and rural development projects. 

> Read article here

  • Write to or call your local MP.
  • Install signage in your area. We’ll supply the signs, you supply the handyman and nails. Send requests to: info@50shadesofgreen.co.nz
  • Campaign donations – cash is king!
  • Contact us to hold a meeting in your region.
  • Find out your local mayor’s view and make sure they are up to date with the reality.
Sign Petition

Evidence in support of the petition to Parliament: That legislation which incentivises the blanket afforestation of farmland be rejected.

Submission by Kerry Worsnop (3 February 2020)

The evidence supplied consists of independent economic analysis undertaken by a reputable accounting firm who deals in both carbon units, forestry and farm businesses, a case study of farm sales, excerpts from reports and cabinet papers relating to the incentives being offered, and lastly real world experience of the impact carbon markets are having on rural communities.
This submission is in response to the request from the Environment Commission request for evidence.

Sign our Petition to Government

Carbon neutrality requires permanent forests not production forests

Article by Keith Woodford (9 December 2019)

If New Zealand is to approach net-zero carbon, then it can only be achieved by a combination of modified lifestyles plus new technologies that either don’t yet exist or are yet to be commercialised. Even with all of these things, it will still require lots of forest plantings to offset carbon emissions from elsewhere in the economy.

inconvenient truth
inconvenient truth

Inconvenient Truths (PDF)

All the details and facts related to the Zero Carbon Bill and subsidised tree planting (4 pages).

Farming Matters

Farming Matters Website

Explore videos and other information about primary production and climate change, including ideas and emerging technologies to help reduce emissions on-farm. Content focuses initially on methane, but more topics will be added, including nitrous oxide, soil carbon, and adaptation to climate change.

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