NZ public supporting sheep and beef farmers on carbon farming

// Climate Change

New Zealanders have expressed concern about carbon emitters offsetting their emissions through carbon farming.

image of mixed plantings on farm and sheep

Last week we released two important pieces of research, as part of our ongoing campaign to make the Government listen and create awareness and support among the wider public. 

Research jointly commissioned with Federated Farmers showed that the majority of New Zealanders don’t agree with the Government’s approach of planting our way out of the problem of climate change and want limits on fossil fuel emitters planting exotic trees on productive farmland. 

This coincided with the release of updated independent research by Orme & Associates, commissioned by B+LNZ, showing more than 52,000 hectares of land was purchased by forestry interests in 2021, a 36 percent increase on the previous two years, and up from 7000 hectares in 2017. 

Read our media release on these two pieces of research here – the reports are also available at this link. 

There has been a considerable amount of media coverage following the release. This includes B+LNZ chief executive Sam McIvor appearing on:

Other voices have also joined the chorus. Fish & Game NZ sent out a media release last week saying they’re “alarmed” by what our report shows.  

B+LNZ chief executive Sam McIvor says it seems that everyone except the Government recognises it’s a problem and wants action. “It’s staring them in the face, but they’re turning a blind eye all while rural communities, food security and export revenue are being compromised.”

We’re running a series of social media posts on the back of the research, which are getting good engagement. This post has reached over 6,000 people and was shared by 44 accounts including the NZ Farming Facebook page, which has over 238,000 followers.

We also continue to work with 50 Shades of Green NZ who are sharing the research through their popular social media channels. 

McIvor says B+LNZ has been pushing for Government action since 2019. “We won’t stop working on this important issue. 

“We constantly hear from farmers and others in our rural communities who see the very real effects of wholesale land use change. We must see urgent and decisive action by the Government before more damage is done to rural communities, and ultimately to New Zealand’s economy.

“We’ve repeatedly said that we are not anti-forestry and we’re not advocating for zero offsets – rather, our concerns relate to the scale and pace of change. A better option is the integration of exotic and indigenous forestry within farms.”

You can find a summary of our position and a list of the many public calls we’ve made on this webpage

McIvor suggests farmers could also contact their local MP to outline their concerns.

The research released last week also showed that 61 percent of people support greater incentives to plant native forests over pine trees – this is something B+LNZ is pushing for as part of better recognition of sequestration under the Government’s proposals for pricing agricultural emissions and would better enable the integration of trees on farms.

“This is another important aspect of our work that we won’t stop pushing for,” McIvor says. “I strongly urge farmers to make their voices heard on the importance of better recognition for the carbon-sequestering vegetation on their farms and make a submission to the Government’s consultation on its emissions pricing proposals.”  

Access B+LNZ’s submission guidance on this webpage.