Conflict and confusion over Government's tree-planting scheme

There's conflict and confusion over the Government's ambitious tree-planting scheme, and whether beneficiaries will be punished if they refuse to participate in its work-for-the-dole scheme.

An announcement is expected before Christmas, but all three government parties have different views on the matter.

National says it's a sign the Government's starting to fracture already.

The Government wants 1 billion native trees planted in 10 years as a solution to youth unemployment.

Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is the brainchild of the scheme, and he believes young people should be made to work.

To do that, he's proposing penalties for beneficiaries who refuse to do so.

"My personal preference is that they face the force of sanctions," he said.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says sanctions from the previous Government will be sufficient.

"My view is that that sanction regime provides us the opportunity to achieve the outcomes we want, but I do want to take it to cabinet for discussion."

She's also promising to pay the minimum wage, instead of Mr Jones' preference of beneficiaries working for the dole.

He said he wants to "challenge the culture" that feeds welfare dependency.

Even if Labour and New Zealand First agree on a compromise, the Greens are still needed to pass legislation, and that's a problem.

The Green Party's policy is to remove all financial sanctions and obligations on beneficiaries, however it has since softened its stance in its confidence and supply agreement with Labour to focus on "excessive sanctions". 

Full details of Mr Jones' policy will be presented to Cabinet before Christmas.