Urgent changes to government policy are needed to control the conversion of sheep and beef farms to pine trees for carbon farming. A discussion paper funded by 16 councils Beef + Lamb NZ and farmers by former Hastings Mayor and National MP Lawrence Yule, argues that short-term land-use decisions are being made to the detriment of long-term land-use flexibility, rural communities and export returns. He says under New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme, polluters can offset their carbon emissions by planting trees, but the system fails to provide incentives for them to reduce their emissions, and ignores the impact on productive land and rural communities. The discussion paper identifies ways to manage the increased planting required to meet the country’s international commitments to reduce climate emissions. Lawrence Yule says there is little local authorities can do to stop swathes of productive sheep, beef and wool producing farmland being converted to forestry.