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Greens Commended for Fresh Thinking

MEDIA STATEMENT

Tuesday 28 March 2006

For Immediate Release

Greens Commended for Fresh Thinking

The Kyoto Forestry Association (KFA) is urging the Government and other political parties to consider seriously the Green Party’s forestry proposals outlined in its Turn Down the Heat policy document being launched today.

The document’s main recommendation is that carbon storage payments should be made to owners of post-1990 “Kyoto” forests, balanced by penalties for deforesting.

“This is a very important step by the Greens,” KFA Spokesman Roger Dickie said today.

“A Government-aligned party has recognised the important principle that those New Zealanders who have risked their capital to plant trees since 1990 should receive financial recognition for the carbon they have taken out of the atmosphere.

“The Greens also seem to understand the business case that this would be the best way to revive confidence in the industry and get planting underway again – because those most likely to invest in forestry in the future are those who have invested in the industry in the past.

“We believe New Zealand’s entire Kyoto deficit could be eliminated simply by restoring tree plantings to the 65,000 hectares per annum achieved in the 1990s.”

Mr Dickie said the KFA was also pleased that the Greens were leaving the door open to support market mechanisms to implement Kyoto.

“While they currently fall on the side of supporting a tax-and-subsidise approach, they make clear that they would be prepared to consider the establishment of an emissions trading system instead, worrying only that the policy work has not been done to enable implementation in time for the first Kyoto commitment period.

“In fact, we understand that the Government’s chief economic advisors at the Treasury have already done some thinking about how such a market would work. It would be useful for the Greens to explore this issue further with the Treasury.”

Mr Dickie urged the Government and other political parties to read closely what the Greens are saying before rushing to judgement.

“This is a substantial and thoughtful piece of work and while people will disagree with some of the proposals, they deserve serious consideration.

“New Zealand will not solve our deforestation crisis or achieve sensible climate change policy until the bureaucracy accepts we need a totally different approach from the failed policies that the Government has now abandoned. The Greens are to be commended for offering new ideas and a fresh approach.”

ENDS

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