Air NZ, Z Energy, Contact, Genesis, join forces to grow forests

Dryland plans to buy up marginal land and initially plant exotic trees.

Four of the country's biggest companies and carbon emitters have teamed up to offset their emissions and reduce their carbon-creating costs.

Air New Zealand, fuel company Z Energy, and power generators Genesis Energy and Contact Energy, have created the investment company Dryland Carbon, to buy land and grow forests.

Dryland chief executive Anthony Beverley said the partnership proved profit and caring for the planet were not mutually exclusive.

"The partnership intends making a serious contribution to the acceleration of afforestation and planting in New Zealand at a time when carbon sequestration and climate change mitigation are becoming increasingly important to all of us."

Dryland would be funded by the four companies but managed by the agribusiness and investment banking firm Lewis Tucker & Co.

It wants to buy and plant on marginal land, which it wants initially to plant in exotic trees but in time turn into native forests.

The companies would use the carbon-credits earned from the forests to offset their carbon-emissions.

"The primary objective is to produce a stable supply of forestry-generated NZU carbon credits, but the initiative will also expand New Zealand's national forest estate," Mr Beverley said.

Dryland is already in talks with farmers and communities to establish forests in their regions.

The government has a programme in place to plant one billion trees by 2028, funded by the Provincial Growth Fund.