National invests in forests

National plans to subsidise the growing of small forests on marginal land.

Prime Minister John Key said in Gisborne today that the Government, if re-elected, would invest "a touch over $22 million" in planting forests of between five and 300 hectares.

"It'll most probably be in difficult and marginal sort of land," he said.

"They'll get $1300 a hectare for planting and we expect over the five-year period about 15,000ha will be planted.

"It's an assistance to those who would otherwise not plant that land.

"It's good from a forestry perspective. It's also good for the land itself because of erosion and other difficulties, and equally its important from a climate-change perspective."

National forestry spokeswoman Jo Goodhew said the plan meant the party was close to fully funding the planting.

The scheme replaces the Afforestation Grant Scheme, which wound up last year.

In return for accepting the grants, recipients will forfeit carbon credits to the Crown for up to a decade.