[12 February/ Radio NZ Country]

With the government having set a goal of planting 1 billion trees in the next 10 years Crown Forestry is now seeking 500,000 hectares of unproductive farmland that is suitable for commercial pinus radiata planting.  Landowners with parcels of land of more than 200 hectares are being offered a lease or joint venture option with Crown Forestry paying all establishment and management costs and allowing them to retain carbon credits.  The 200 hectare land parcel is driven by the need to have sufficient scale to drive better returns but a spokesperson for the service said that they had already had 30 to 40 people come forward with fairly large blocks.  They added that there is not a big bank of Crown land to be used for planting thus achieving the government’s target will mean that productive farmland will need to be used for tree planting.