Shane Jones open to tweaking billion trees policy

The Forestry Minister says he is prepared to look at tweaking the Government's billion trees policy, should concerns about its impact on rural communities be proven.

The lobby group 50 Shades of Green, claims the current push to plant a billion trees will destroy the provinces, and ultimately New Zealand's economy.

The lobby group claims foreign companies are buying productive farms and converting them to forestry.

It said taking farms out of production would devastate local communities with the economic and social impact.

However Forestry Minister, Shane Jones told Magic Talk's Rural Exchange he is not convinced there is such a problem.

"It's obviously a problem in their mind," he said.

"But I've gone away and found out what the facts are, and it's nowhere near as severe as how the media have talked it up," said Jones.

However he said he was listening to the concerns and prepared to act if necessary.

"I have to be responsive to the fact that the Mayor of Wairoa, Craig Little and a host of others have come to see me."

"So I've said If we need to tweak the settings, then we'll have a go at that."

Jones rejected claims it was a huge issue.

"At this stage we aren't seeing vast sways of New Zealand's farmland turned into trees."

"If it comes to pass that that facts show that we need to tweak it to create a bit of balance, then I will just take the necessary cabinet paper forward and see if I can get buy in from my other cabinet colleagues."

Watch Shane Jones' interview with Rural Exchange. 

Rural Exchange with Hamish McKay and Richard Loe, 6-8am Saturday and Sunday on Magic Talk.