The Governments plan to limit forest planting on areas of more than 50 hectares to protect farming has drawn the ire of Forest Owners. The land in focus is currently classified as arable. There has been much criticism that good productive land is being converted to forestry – providing less employment and destroying communities. But Forest Owners Association President, Phil Taylor says a quarter of the forest estate is already on this type of land and if foresters are only allowed to plant on harder non-arable land then the overall forest planting rate will fall. Phil Taylor says taxpayers are likely to have to pay billions of dollars for imported carbon credits and New Zealand will most likely be well short of enough forests to meet the government goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. Phil Taylor says banning forests suggests that farming is automatically a better land use but it’s taking away landowner choice of how to produce from their own land. He says a recent Price Waterhouse Coopers report found that forestry, per hectare, is ahead on both employment and income. Forest products are a seven-billion-dollar industry in NZ.