Neil Cullen, New Zealand Tree Grower November 2017.
The Editor assured me I would have the election result to ruminate on for this column and he is at least partially correct as NZ First announced last evening that they have decided to form a coalition government with Labour and by default the Greens.What that means in terms of agreed policy will be more evident by the time you read this but I think it is safe to assume that for better or worse there will be more government involvement in the forest industry.
This will probably be directed from a reborn NZ Forest Service and one of their briefs surely will be to follow up on the recommendations of Net Zero and the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment among others to ensure more of our pasture and marginal land is converted to forest.
The ETS perhaps under James Shaw is in for additional changes to those already proposed and climate change may come under the direction of an independent commission. As well as losing control of forestry, MPI will probably be divested of some biosecurity and regulatory functions and the NZFFA will be joining with other forestry organisations in consulting on all implications of these changes.
Included in with this copy of Tree Grower is the Annual Research Report of Forest Growers Research. Compiled by Harriet Palmer, this booklet gives a snapshot of where the $5 million of forest growers’ levy money directed to research in 2017 is being spent. Manager Russell Dale outlines in his foreword the six different programmes where the funds are being used.All are of value to small-scale growers but of particular interest is the specialty species area where branches and individual members have contributed funds via the Specialty Wood Partnership. Participants at the Forest Growers Research conference in Christchurch in October were given detailed presentations on many of the programmes and there will be more reports on those in future issues of Tree Grower.
Natalie Smith has recently been appointed as our Office Manager and will be present in the office on Wednesday, Thursday and part of Friday to take your inquiries. She is keen to get to know members and contacts in the branches so those that who did not get to the Council meeting on the 3 November should make the effort to contact her.
In September, Hamish Levack and myself along with other New Zealand forest representatives attended a biennial gala dinner in Canberra attended by 500 people including 45 members of the Australian parliament. Organised by a cross party committee on forestry the dinner was addressed by the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull where he announced a National Forest Industries Plan. The lasting impression from the dinner and a prior meeting with their trans-industry body, AFPA was that forestry is given much more regard by the Australian government than is the case in New Zealand. With our new government and a new minister that situation looks like it is about to change.
The National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry have now been enacted and come into force on 1 May next year. They provide rules for eight core forestry activities and mean consistent regulations throughout the country.
MPI and regional councils will be holding workshops to explain the implications and responsibilities for foresters under the National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry. With the dis-establishment of the Rural Fire Services, the NZFFA and NZ Forest owners Association have signed a charter with Fire and Emergency NZ that ensures continuing working together of the three organisations. The charter covers fire control, fire research and collaborating on national guidelines and fire management policies. Our representatives Geoff Cameron and Don Wallace helped develop the charter.