Newsletter 71, May 2014
New Zealand Farm Forestry Association
P.O. Box 10349
|May 2014 No. 71|
Ian Jackson email@example.com
-Sthn High Country (north)
Dean Satchell firstname.lastname@example.org
Angus Gordon email@example.com
-Taupo & Districts
Neil Cullen firstname.lastname@example.org
-Men of Trees
-Sthn High Country (south)
Hamish Levack email@example.com
-Gisborne East Coast
Patrick Milne firstname.lastname@example.org
-Bay of Plenty
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Sustainable forest management standard published
Source: Friday Offcuts
November 2013, Wood council of NZ Inc.
The forest and wood products industry has the ability to deliver renewable and resilient growth. There are a number of areas where government can, and should, have an interest in facilitating the development of the forest and wood products industry. It can do this by delivering better policy, minimising regulatory barriers and publicly committing to and communicating the value it places on the industry.
Forest Owners given another ETS whack
FOREST OWNERS ASSOCIATION, MEDIA RELEASE
For more information, please contact Paul Nicholls, Tel 027 595 8708 or David Rhodes, Tel 027 495 5525
A measure hidden in the fine print of the Budget has forest owners wondering why they are again being unfairly singled out.
In a Bill that is expected to become law today, forest owners planning to pay their emissions obligations with international units will no longer be able to do so. These units, which typically sell for about a tenth of the price of NZ units, will still be legal tender for power companies and other emitters.
“Forest owners who have bought international units to meet their obligations during the next 12 months will be forced to sell them at a likely loss,” says Forest Owners Association president Paul Nicholls.
“The number of forest owners directly affected is unknown but all forest growers will be concerned by the inequity of this. For the second time in the tawdry history of the ETS, forest owners are being hit by retrospective legislation.”
Mr Nicholls says the Bill is designed to stop arbitraging by forest owners – a form of trading which enables participants in the ETS to profit by selling high value NZ units while meeting their obligations using cheaper international units.
“But it also captures everyday forest owners who entered the ETS in good faith and who now want to exit because it isn’t worth the candle. Small forest owners and iwi will be disproportionately affected.
“Meanwhile power companies and other emitters will be allowed to arbitrage for another year.”
FOA chief executive David Rhodes says arbitraging does not benefit New Zealand or the climate in any way, but it is an inevitable result of allowing unrestricted volumes of cheap international units into the country.
“We, along with Maori interests, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, environmental groups have repeatedly told the government that these units undermine New Zealand’s ability to address climate change.
“Finally they’ve decided to act. But why now? Why with such urgency? Why retrospectively? And why only forestry?”
He says there is a deep irony that the only industry that has consistently criticised the use of international units in the ETS has been singled out in this way.
“Minister Groser announced last December that non-New Zealand units would not be able to be used in the ETS from mid-2015. This provided ample time for players to adjust ... except for post-1989 forest owners, for whom mid-2015 has now suddenly become yesterday,” says Mr Rhodes.
“For forest owners this continues a series of decisions by this government which are as baffling as they are inequitable. The forest sector had considerable potential to help New Zealand meet its 2020 emissions targets, but that potential has largely been squandered.
“Far from being a part of the solution, forestry is going to become part of the problem because lots of trees planted in the 1990s are approaching the harvest age of 30 years and new planting to offset those harvest emissions has been stalled for several years.”
The six-year ‘Growing confidence in forestry’s future’ (GCFF) research programme is one of the most significant initiatives being taken by the forestry growing sector and focuses on improving the value realised from existing forests and doubling the productivity of future forests in a sustainable way.
I attended the FBC meeting in lieu of Dean Satchell on the 21st in Rotorua. It was an important gathering in that the meeting was being looked to for a recommendation to endorse the GIA agreement, which the NZFOA Exec Committee are close to signing off on. These industry sector agreements (Kiwifruit have just signed) place some responsibility for the relevant sector to engage and be involved in the pest response programme with cost sharing to be determined according to yet to be developed operational agreements. The Industry Agreement is a broader head agreement but it does place some funding and participation requirements on the sector, which in turn must demonstrate its ability to represent the sector and fund its obligations.
In the case of the forestry sector it seems the levy is very adequate to fund our readiness requirements (surveillance, databases, relevant research, etc)....which is mostly business as usual anyway. The likelihood is that in the event of a major pest outbreak response activity would be funded by an appropriate special levy which is already provided for under the Biosecurity Act.
While signing the GIA commits the forestry sector to a course of action that could involve significant funding of a pest response by signing we have an initial shelter against all cost for 6 years (100% Crown funding guaranteed) and some of our relevant FB cost/activity is also recoverable. In the event of an outbreak of importance to the forest growing community we are immediately involved in response discussions and any operational agreements developed in between times would also apply.
The issue for small growers is around species (all or just limited to radiata pine and D fir?) and participation. The FBO discussed these matters at length and noting that major diseases are not likely to stay on particular species and the wider body of interest it was recommended that the mandate should be across all commercial plantation species but that the level of response should be governed by the commercial opportunity that any species/group of species might represent. NZFFA would of course be represented on the committee addressing such matters.
There will be further discussion around this matter at NZFOA's next meeting where Ian Jackson will be able to ensure the NZFFA position is well protected so any feedback on this matter would be helpful.