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Foresters' Ownership of Carbon Credits on Agenda

MEDIA STATEMENT

Tuesday 4 July 2006

For Immediate Release

Foresters’ Ownership of Carbon Credits Back on Govt Agenda

The Kyoto Forestry Association (KFA) has welcomed today’s indication by Climate Change Minister David Parker that the Government will consider restoring Kyoto carbon credits to their rightful owners – the tens of thousands of New Zealanders who have risked their capital to plant more than 600,000 hectares of new forestry in New Zealand since 1 January 1990.

The Cabinet Paper released by Mr Parker today indicates that key decisions will be made shortly about whether to “expose [forestry] investors through legislation to the value of emission credits and associated deforestation liabilities under the Kyoto Protocol”. Chapters 6 and 7 of Climate Change Solutions: Whole of Government Climate Change Work Programme also indicate that the Government is prepared to rescind previous failed policy and launch “bold goals or objectives” for forestry.

KFA spokesman Roger Dickie said the industry was encouraged by Mr Parker’s statements.

“The Government’s decision in 2002 to confiscate forest owners’ carbon credits has contributed significantly to New Zealand’s deforestation crisis, which has seen the country’s total forest cover fall for the first time in a century,” Mr Dickie said.

“This in turn has contributed to New Zealand’s Kyoto account plunging more than half a billion dollars into the red.

“KFA has been urging the Government to reconsider its decision to confiscate the credits, and forest owners will be buoyed by news that Mr Parker is listening to them and is prepared to act in the short-term, prior to Kyoto Commitment Period 1 (CP1).

“Confirmation from Mr Parker that restoring the ownership or value of credits to forest owners is firmly on the agenda for CP1 would allow the forestry industry to reconsider our ban on government officials entering Kyoto forests for carbon monitoring purposes and restore a sound working relationship between industry and government.”

In the meantime, Mr Dickie said it was important for forest owners to keep up the pressure on the Government to encourage it to stay on the more sensible path Mr Parker was indicating.

ENDS

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