Changes to Environment Standards for Plantation Forestry

October 3, 2023
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On 14 June, NZ Government Ministers announced changes to the National Environment Standards for Plantation Forestry (NES-PF).

In summary:

• Changes have been made to how commercial forestry is managed to give councils more power to decide where new forests are located;

• Exotic continuous-cover forests (carbon forests) are now managed in the same way as plantation forests;

• The changes improve the management of the effects of large-scale forestry on the environment and communities. This will ensure the long-term sustainability of new and existing exotic forests; and

• The changes also ensure the regulations deliver the right type and scale of forests, in the right place. This is an action in the first Aotearoa Emissions Reduction Plan.

More details can be found on the Ministry for Environment’s website and in the fact sheet below:

National environmental standards for commercial forestry


The changes come into force from 2 November and were gazetted yesterday (Thursday 5 October). The Ministry for the Environment and councils will work together to implement the changes while Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service – is developing risk assessment and management tools for landowners and councils.

The submissions received during consultation in November 2022 are now on the Ministry for Primary Industries’ website along with a summary.

The Cabinet minute, Cabinet paper, and attachments on the final policy decision in June have been proactively released. Read here.

We will also be proactively releasing the final section 32 evaluation report, the supplementary analysis report to support the interim regulatory impact statement, and the papers that went to the Cabinet Legislation Committee on 18 September. We will let you know when this happens.

If you have any questions, please email

Here is a link to the 14 June Ministerial announcement: Local communities to have a say on farm to forest conversions

Source: Ministry for Primary Industries