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Flood relief should include reforestation

18 March 2004

Flood relief should include reforestation

Green MP Ian Ewen-Street is supporting calls from local farmers today for government flood relief in the lower North Island to include systematic tree planting, especially in the headwaters of catchment areas.

The Prime Minister announced yesterday that a further $40 million would be committed to the clean up, taking the government's total recovery funding to $130 million. The agricultural part of the package is for fixed uninsurable farm infrastructure.

"Reforestation of the headwaters of rivers is the best way of mitigating the effects of similar future storms," said Mr Ewen-Street, the Green Party Spokesperson on Agriculture and Forestry.

"Trees hold the hills together, slow the speed of rainwater run off and reduce the amount of silt that gets carried down to the plains.

"New Zealand must also consider that these floods are a wake-up call on climate change and that events such as this may become more frequent. More trees will help as a carbon sink, but we also have to do more to reduce the amount of carbon we are putting into the atmosphere in the first place."

ENDS

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