Log In

Reset Password

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.”

STRONG reaction: Response to the open letter penned last month by young Gisborne farmer Henry Gaddum where he expressed his concerns, and the concerns of others, around the buy up of good farmland for forestry went ballistic across the country and overseas. It was printed in the Gisborne Herald and then picked up by several forms of social media. File picture

  1. Dorothy Lock says:

    The land has had a long, drawn-out dry period and my concern is that bush fires would substantially increase with the growth of pine forests there – not to mention the devastating appearance of the land after the forests are felled.
    After all, we are an island in the Pacific Ocean, unlike so many countries in the Northern Hemisphere where the winters are colder and forestry is either landlocked or rescuers are closer should massive bush fires occur. It just seems that we are experimenting with ideas in a panic over climate change, and penalising agriculture for the sake of proving that Aotearoa is punching above its weight.

  2. Arthur Bishop says:

    That’s New Zealand – we are short sighted in everything we do, especially under this present administration. There is no plan. Much of our land is overpriced by world standards and selling huge swaths of land in the regions will further distort the situation. Not enough thought has been given to long-term gains . . . I could go on. Step outside New Zealand, we are far from perfect. I support you with everything you say.

    1. Mark Layland, Whakatane says:

      You are correct, this present Government is doing a lot of damage to New Zealand – damage that cannot be reversed. Selling farms to overseas investors is ridiculous. The young farmer has hit the nail on the head, it will ruin country communities. The sooner this Labour Government has gone the better. The problem is that the damage done in such a short time is huge. Bringing 1500 so-called refugees from the Third World when we have a massive housing shortage, and Kiwis living in cars and on the streets, is madness. Another problem of course is what party or parties will get in to power later this year, and will they look after New Zealand and its citizens.

  3. Haydon Walton says:

    We work around the wider Gisborne region and are seeing a lot of productive country being planted into pines – not good to see. It is doing our region out of income for the next 30 years. It is hard to go 100m in Gisborne without seeing a shepherd, fencer, scrubcutter, stock agent, farm consultant, vet, rural supplies merchant, meat industry worker, stock truck driver – not to mention other retailers who depend on farmers’ and rural workers’ income. Can’t the Government see what they are doing to our region? They need to wake up and smell the roses – or can’t they for the pines!!

  4. Peter Jones says:

    It seems that the modus operandi for driving the world’s people into smart cities is fires “caused by climate change”. Being a temperate island nation with large areas of closely-grazed grass it is very difficult to create a firestorm like we see in Australia, although I have predicted such an event for our East Coast forestry estate for some years. You need fuel for fires, so locking up the land and excluding grazing animals should create the conditions required eventually. The Port Hills fires indicated that we have the firestorm technology waiting in the wings and Ron Mark has recently signed huge military contracts with Lockheed Martin, so I’m assuming we have the latest directed energy technology at our disposal. It has taken over a decade of green policies to set up the conditions for the Australian event and it will take a while for the same conditions to be set up here. A billion trees with scrub around them should do it. I have been calling out agenda 21 for years and if you can’t see it yet you aren’t looking.