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KFA Goes to Montreal, Officials Seek Policy Change

Media Statement

Thursday 1 December 2005

For Immediate Release

Kyoto Forestry Association Goes to Montreal as Officials Seek Policy Change

Government officials are increasingly interested in market-based solutions as a way out of New Zealand’s Kyoto policy mess, the Kyoto Forestry Association’s Peter Weir said today.

Mr Weir was commenting before departing for Montreal as a member of the official New Zealand delegation to the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

“The previous tax-and-subsidise approach to Kyoto has clearly failed, with taxpayers facing billion-dollar bills and petrol price rises, big polluting industries being let off the proposed carbon tax, tree plantings plunging to zero and carbon emissions leaping ever-further ahead,” Mr Weir said.

“Everyone who supports Kyoto is now looking for a better and more effective way of implementing the protocol in New Zealand, and a consensus is gradually emerging in industry and government circles along the lines of that advocated by the Kyoto Forestry Association and the Treasury.”

Mr Weir was referring to the Treasury’s advice in Sustaining Growth: Briefing to the Incoming Government (pp 13-15), where it said that the tax-and-subsidise approach to Kyoto was making “only a limited contribution to meeting our Kyoto obligations but at a relatively high cost” and recommended “price-based measures”, “devolution of a very large part of New Zealand’s climate change obligations to firms and individuals … this could include the devolution of forest sink credits, and all international obligations for deforestation to the forestry sector” and “a strategy for appropriate use of international emissions trading and the other Kyoto-flexible mechanisms”.

Mr Weir said the view which had emerged amongst key participants in the dialogue between the industry and government, launched by Forestry Minister Jim Anderton before the election, was “not dissimilar to the Treasury advice”.

Details of the dialogue, involving industry representatives and officials from Treasury, MAF, the Ministry for the Environment and Te Puni Kokiri, remain confidential at this stage. However Mr Weir said it had been “very positive from both the industry and government point of view”. He said: “Mr Anderton has already achieved a great deal for the industry by getting us talking again and it bodes well for his broader role with responsibility across the primary industries”.

Mr Weir said that while in Montreal he would strongly promote the Treasury’s ideas and those points of common agreement from the forest growers’ dialogue with government officials. He returns to New Zealand on 12 December.

ENDS

Further background: www.kfa.co.nz

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