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Speak up for Change


There’s sometimes a bit to complain about here in Te Tairāwhiti, and we’re often ready to oblige. It can feel good to unleash our frustrations about this and that. This pot-hole… that sewage…Well, my friend, today is your chance to turn those complaints into action.


The Ministry for the Environment is currently seeking public input through a consultation on the redesigned Permanent Forest Category in the Emission Trading Scheme. This consultation tackles critical questions about the types of trees eligible for the permanent forest category, the management of transition forests, and the sustainable practices for permanent forests. For me, it boils down to a simple question: Do we want more pine trees or fewer?


Today, I encourage you to channel your innate ability to complain into a force for positive change. For those who possess a poetic spirit, craft a lyrical opus spanning ten pages on the topic of forestry. For the less inclined, simply tick the box that advocates for "allowing only native trees in the Permanent Forest Category" and consider it a day's work. I confess I took the latter route before writing this article.


Why should you have a say? Because decisions about the management of our land and forests are far too crucial to be left solely to politicians. As residents of Tairāwhiti, a region profoundly affected by forestry practices, it is imperative that our voices are heard. The land we inhabit is a shared resource, and it is our responsibility to contribute to the decision-making process actively. Silence may impede progress, but when we engage actively, we can drive real change.


Tairāwhiti's expansive pine tree plantations have proven to be a double-edged sword. While exotic pine trees offer rapid growth and economic opportunities through overseas sales, they also present environmental challenges. Recent extreme weather events have starkly revealed the negative consequences of these plantations, with slash wreaking havoc and causing substantial devastation to our region.


Your voice holds significance, and by actively participating in the decision-making process, we can shape a more sustainable and environmentally conscious future for Tairāwhiti.


To ensure your opinions are considered, visit the official consultation website at https://consult.environment.govt.nz/.../nz-ets-permanent.../. Because if you’re going to complain, at least let your voice be heard.


By Jack Marshall Photo credit Matt Palmer

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