Forest Owners tell government to look across the Tasman
The Forest Owners Association is telling the government that Australia’s support of plantation forestry is in sharp contrast to the increasingly restrictive measures being promised in New Zealand by our government.
The Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, is in Tasmania today announcing an $86 (Aust) million package for forestry in the island state.
Scott Morrison says the biggest government forest support package for more than 30 years, will leverage ‘at least $300 million in total investment into plantations’.
He termed forestry a ‘critical national treasure’ and future supply is needed for future generations, with global demand for timber products ‘expected to quadruple by 2050’.
The President of the New Zealand Forest Owners Association, Phil Taylor, says the New Zealand industry is not seeking the type of financial support being delivered in Australia.
“Basically, all we want to do is get on with growing trees and responding to strong world and local demand. Our problem is a sequence of messages from the government on new rules to restrict forest expansion.’
“Just last night, we saw on the ‘Sunday’ programme that the government was planning to put a stop to the right to convert a whole farm to forestry.”
Phil Taylor says if there is a problem with what is called carbon farming, then that should be treated separately and not by threating to change the rules relating to production forestry.
“A modest expansion of the exotic plantation estate is vital to provide enough carbon sequestration capacity for the government to budget for a carbon zero economy by 2050. The right signals have to be sent to farmers and other landowners to ensure this happens and these are not the signals we are getting at the moment.”
“Then there is the economic aspect. Forestry and horticulture are predicted to lead the way to export recovery over the next few years.”
Phil Taylor echoes the expectations of the Australian government for a huge increase in wood demand for new products
“It’s already happening with biofuels. Our industry is going to struggle to just meet the demand from New Zealand dairy processors to deliver enough wood material for heating powder driers as the processors move out of burning coal.”
“On top of that there is the emergence of a global bioeconomy, where wood is going to be used much more widely to replace greenhouse gas emitting substances, such as concrete, steel and plastics. We should be leading in producing these products, not adopting policies which would result in having to import them.”
“Scott Morrison seems to be getting this. I do hope our government does too.”