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Media Statement, 4 September 2015, NZ Farm Forestry Association.

The NZ Farm Forestry Association Welcomes the Green Party’s Climate Plan

The Green Party launched their climate plan yesterday, and the NZ Farm Forestry Association is pleased to note that the forestry industry forms one of the major planks of this policy.

The policy calls for a 40% reduction of gross greenhouse gas emissions from the 1990 level by 2030, which equates to a reduction of 28 mega-tonnes (Mt) of greenhouse gas emissions.
Seven sectors where reductions in emissions need to be made are identified, with forestry representing 14% of this targeted reduction.  The seven sectors are: electricity, transport, waste, other burning of fossil fuels, industrial processes, agriculture, and forestry.

Of specific interest to the forestry industry, the policy calls for:

  • The disbanding of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and the implementation of a revenue neutral carbon tax.
  • The setting up of an independent Climate Commission, which would increase the carbon price over time.
  • The policy recognises that currently forestry is acting as a short-term carbon sink, but which when harvested over the next 15 years will become a liability if not replaced.  It proposes reducing deforestation and conversion of existing forestry land, where a strong carbon price is necessary to constrain dairy expansion in a carbon-constrained economy.
  • The policy suggests either planting 50,000ha of permanent pine forest annually from now until 2030, which would sequester approximately 180 Mt, or 100,000 of harvestable pine forest which would sequester approximately 175 Mt.
  • The policy would incentivise the removal of livestock through the Afforestation Grant Scheme (AGS) and the Permanent Forest Sink Initiative (PFSI).
  • The strengthening of the National Environmental Standard for Forestry Plantations, “to protect areas of indigenous vegetation from being overplanted with exotics, strengthen sustainable forest practice, incentivise planting in native tree species, and incentivise the planting of appropriate places with Pinus radiata and other exotic species”.
  • The policy recognises the many direct benefits of retiring marginal pastoral land.

The Association welcomes the acknowledgement that forestry has a major part to play in New Zealand’s possible solution for the global climate change discussion.  We would suggest that:

  • The mechanics of switching from the ETS scheme to a revenue neutral carbon tax would have to ensure that foresters who entered the ETS scheme in good faith were not disadvantaged.
  • Both the AGS and PFSI will need to be revised to reflect this increased reliance on the forestry industry.

We look forward to the Green Party engaging with the Association to further develop their policy with regard to the forestry industry.

For further comment contact:
Dean Satchell, President
09 407 5525, 021 235 7554

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