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Anderton Attack Won't Prevent Search for Solutions

MEDIA STATEMENT

Friday 12 May 2006

For Immediate Release

Anderton Attack Will Not Prevent Search for Positive Solutions

Forestry Minister Jim Anderton’s unfortunate attack on the forestry industry in general and the Kyoto Forestry Association (KFA) in particular will not undermine industry unity nor its commitment to achieving constructive solutions to New Zealand’s climate change policy mess, KFA spokesman Roger Dickie said today.

Mr Dickie was responding to comments attributed to Mr Anderton in this week’s edition of Rural News. Mr Anderton was reported as saying that unless the forestry industry allowed MAF officials to enter private property to collect carbon data the Government would not work with it to address New Zealand’s deforestation crisis which risks costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

“The Government does feel vulnerable on this issue and Mr Anderton’s effort to divide the industry is perhaps understandable,” Mr Dickie said.

“But the ban on MAF officials entering our properties was put in place by our lead organisation, the New Zealand Forest Owners Association (NZFOA), and KFA supporters, as members of NZFOA, are simply enforcing it. NZFOA, KFA, the Farm Forestry Association and the Federation of Maori Authorities are all completely united behind the ban, and on our six point plan to get tree-planting underway again.”

Mr Dickie said Mr Anderton needed to try to understand how strongly forest owners feel about the Government’s expropriation of their carbon credits – the issue which is behind the ban.

“From our perspective, letting MAF officials on our properties to make carbon calculations would be like giving the burglar the key to the house,” he said. “Mr Anderton may feel that is itself intemperate but it is important he understands where we are coming from.”

Mr Dickie said it would be better for Mr Anderton to listen to the forestry industry and work with it, rather than attack it.

“KFA, for example, includes well over 20,000 forest owners and all the major forest companies in New Zealand. Combined, we own more than 200,000 hectares of Kyoto forests. We would have thought that the insights, knowledge and understanding that we have about our industry would be useful to the Forestry Minister.

“Once carbon ownership matters are satisfactorily agreed, Kyoto forest owners are keen to welcome MAF officials onto our properties to make carbon calculations at the earliest possible date, subject to forest industry standard Health and Safety to assure a safe workplace.”

ENDS

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