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$13,000 Retrospective Tax Sheer Idiocy

KYOTO FORESTRY ASSOCIATION MEDIA STATEMENT

Monday 18 December 2006 For Immediate Release

Government Plans For $13,000 Retrospective Tax "Sheer Idiocy"

"Imposing massive retrospective taxes on the one industry capable of sequestering carbon is sheer idiocy," the Kyoto Forestry Association (KFA) said today.

The association, which represents more than 30,000 ordinary New Zealanders who have planted around 200,000 hectares of forestry since 1990, was commenting on the Government's land use discussion document released today.

"The Government's process to develop this so-called discussion document has been a manipulative sham," KFA spokesman Roger Dickie said.

"Earlier this year, all the key forestry industry organisations - the New Zealand Forest Owners' Association, the New Zealand Farm Forestry Association, the Kyoto Forestry Association and the Federation of Maori Authorities - agreed on a six-point plan to get planting under way again. It was based on work with government officials through 2005.

"That work has been totally ignored by an arrogant and incompetent Government. As a result, they will get more deforestation, taking us further away from the Prime Minister's vision of 'carbon neutrality'.

Mr Dickie said plantings initially plunged and deforestation began when the Government announced it would confiscate carbon credits rightfully owned by the New Zealanders who have invested in forestry since 1990. To now be further undermining confidence in the industry with the proposed $13,000 per hectare retrospective tax was "reckless in the extreme".

"No one is going to want to invest in forestry with such a punitive idea on the table, compared with other land uses. They will invest in dairying, while some existing forest owners will decide it is better to bulldoze, spray or burn their trees before 2008. The Prime Minister needs to step in and take this ridiculous idea off the table right now."

He said ministers and officials seemed unable to understand the simple point that those who have invested in forestry in the past are the most likely to invest in forestry in the future.

Mr Dickie said the forest industry believed there was no point in it continuing to speak to government officials on climate change issues.

"Politicians and bureaucrats in Wellington have determined that they know better than the industry itself what will encourage investors to plant more trees. They will have to take the responsibility for the inevitable acceleration in deforestation, and for the political consequences which will see a massive campaign launched against any party that refuses to endorse the main points of the industry's six-point plan."

END

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