'Offensive and cheap': Rural lobby group denies Minister Shane Jones' claims

A lobby group set up in response to the impact of the Government's billion trees policy on rural communities has refuted claims it's linked to the National Party.

The group, 50 Shades of Green, aims to convince politicians and decision-makers that the current push to plant a billion trees will destroy the provinces and ultimately the New Zealand economy.

Forestry Minister Shane Jones, who is behind the programme, said it was not subsidising large-scale afforestation.

"What we are looking to do is to help farmers put the right trees in the right place," he said.

He also suggested that the lobby group had links to the National Party.

Locals packed out a local hall in Taumarunui recently to talk about the issue.
Locals packed out a local hall in Taumarunui recently to talk about the issue. Photo credit: Facebook/50 Shades of Green

However 50 Shades of Green spokesperson Mike Butterick said Jones was incorrect.

"Minister Jones is both wrong in fact and totally out of court with his accusations," he said.

"I find this type of political loquaciousness offensive and cheap."

He said if the Minister had any hard proof, he should share it.

"50 Shades of Green is a non-political organisation committed to maintaining prosperous provinces."

Butterick said anyone was welcome to join the organisation regardless of colour, class, creed or political persuasion.

"All they need is a strong belief in provincial New Zealand and be prepared to work to maintain its prosperity."


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