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Forest Industry Calls For Smart Approach On Kyoto

16 November 2001
Media release

United Forest Industry Calls For “Smart” Approach On Kyoto

A series of regional forums over the past week has shown the forest industry is united in its concerns at the pace of the Government’s plans for ratifying the Kyoto Protocol.

The Forest Industries Council and Forest Owners’ Association met with forest industry members – from farm foresters to major wood processors – at meetings in the country’s major forestry regions.

Forest Industries Council Chief Executive, James Griffiths, said the purpose of the meetings was to gain agreement on a whole-industry approach to the Government’s consultation on the proposed ratification of the Kyoto Protocol next September and the early imposition of climate change policies, like new taxes, in New Zealand starting in 2003.

“We have a clear message from industry members – be they sole operators, small local employers or large processing companies – that New Zealand must slow down on ratification of the Kyoto Protocol,” said Mr Griffiths.

“It simply doesn’t seem sensible to be seriously contemplating early ratification ahead of our international trading partners and competitors. Under the Wood Processing Strategy we are working hard to improve our international competitiveness and attract up to $ 3 billion in additional processing investment to regional New Zealand.”

“Early ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, and the resulting increases in local processing and transport costs and distortion of forest values will be a major disincentive for that investment to take place in New Zealand. We could see this investment and job creation prospects, instead, go to Chile, Brazil, China, Malaysia or Indonesia which have no obligations or costs under the Protocol.”

“The forest industry across the board understands and accepts the case for global action on climate change – but is united in its concern at the Government’s “bull at a gate” approach to this crucial economic issue.

“This is not just a big business issue; it’s an issue that will affect every New Zealander.”

The forest industry urged the Government to take a smart approach to the Kyoto Protocol.

“A smart approach will involve clearly understanding the costs of ratification and ensuring that as a nation we can afford them before taking any action on ratification; putting in place policies that mitigate impacts; and it will involve not endangering the viability of New Zealand’s economy, just to satisfy an ambition to be one of the first to ratify at next year’s World Summit on Sustainable Development,” Mr Griffiths said.

Ends

For further information:
James Griffiths, Chief Executive of the Forest Industries Council
Mobile (027) 472 5502

Rob McLagan, Chief Executive of the Forest Owners’ Association
Mobile 025 421 918

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