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Current proposed freshwater policies would require more than 20% of the Clutha catchment to be planted in to trees, Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker says.

“A report prepared by Land Care for the Ministry for the Environment reveals the Clutha catchment would require 375,300ha in afforestation, almost 20% of the entire catchment, to reach sediment targets proposed,” Mr Walker says.

“And even then there is no way this catchment would be able to meet the proposed targets.”

The report states: “Even if the entire mitigatable land of the Clutha catchment is treated, it cannot meet the sediment reduction target. Accordingly, for the Clutha catchment complete afforestation of the mitigatable land is needed to at least approach the sediment reduction target.”

“We know what blanket afforestation does to communities, all we have to do is look at the Tahakopa Valley.”

“Once a community with many farming families, and a school role of 30, is now covered in trees with only six pupils now attending the school.”

“Trees are a very important part of our ecosystem, but requiring blanket plantings to meet impossible targets will destroy communities, not improve them.”

“This Government is set on doing as it wants, completing its experiments, without considering the consequences for rural New Zealand.”

“If the proposed water policies go ahead, it will be the end of the Clutha catchment as we know it.”

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