Henry’s letter proves a huge hit
YOUNG Tairawhiti farmer Henry Gaddum penned an open letter through The Herald in mid-November that has gone ballistic as readers nationally picked up on his concerns around the theme of Carbon Credits and Pine Trees.
It has been viewed more than 14,800 times on The Herald website since publication, and has been shared widely on Facebook and Twitter.
In it, Henry voiced his deep concerns, and the concerns of others, about the future of the region when it comes to land use and he wants to do something about it.
He wrote — “We are a group of young farmers in the Gisborne/East Coast region and we are seriously concerned about the future of not only our local environment and economy, but also the whole country in relation to Carbon Credits and Pine Trees.
“We are fully engaged and enthusiastic about farming sustainably, keeping our creeks clean and re-establishing native trees and wildlife, but we are seriously worried what our countryside is going to look like in the near future, and what our future generations are going to have to try to deal with, if we as a country continue to sell our land to overseas investors.
“It seems mad to be blanket-planting the lands of one of the most efficient food (carbon footprint) producing countries in the world, just for a less efficient country to take up the slack in global food demand. How is this helping the climate change problem?”
Henry said the response was “totally unexpected”.
He also contacted other media outlets to try to get some coverage.
“Not one TV media outlet responded, not even a thanks, but no thanks, which shows how little they seem to care about the future of our land, and the disconnect between rural and urban communities.”
He said there was virtually no response from the radio outlets either.
“I believe the march in Wellington was portrayed the wrong way by the media, showing it as Farmers against trees, whereas it was actually totally about trying to plant the right trees in the right place instead of a huge monoculture of one exotic tree over good productive farmland, that is in fact vital to the country's economic wellbeing.
“It is sad to see a few more beautiful farms sold recently to trees, with the buyers being well ahead of farmers trying to buy the properties.
“Pan Pac's (foreign owned) spend-up has begun, on the way to their 20,000ha or 25 farms that the government has pretty much handed them on a plate,” Henry said.
“People I've talked to in Wairoa are gutted and worried to say the least.
“There will be a few jobs initially to plant the area then nothing until harvest, taking land and work away from the freezing works which is a major employer in Wairoa, and continuing to whittle away the rural community there.
“We are not against the One Billion Trees programme at all, we just believe it could be done better, spreading it over the whole country instead of jamming it all into areas like Gisborne, Wairarapa, Central Plateau, Northland and Wairoa.
“This would save these communities and keep these parts of rural NZ alive.
“The messages we are trying to get across to the wider public is that this blanket planting of pines is very short-sighted in terms of New Zealand's future.”