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Professor Lewis Evans Appointed To Review Work

Wednesday 2 April 2008

Professor Lewis Evans Appointed To Review Work On
Forestry Offset Scheme Proposal

The Flexible Land Use Alliance announced today the appointment of Professor Lewis Evans to review a draft report by the University of Waikato and Covec on proposed changes to the forestry components of the Climate Change (Emissions Trading and Renewable Preference) Bill, including the introduction of a Forestry Offset Scheme.

Professor Evans is Chair of Economics at Victoria University of Wellington, a former Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of Competition and Regulation, and a Lay Member of the High Court of New Zealand for matters of commerce.

His independent review was agreed between the Flexible Land Use Alliance and Forestry Minister Jim Anderton on 5 March after the publication of The Case for a Forestry Offset Scheme on 28 February.

Under a Forestry Offset Scheme, forest owners harvesting their land would be able to meet their liabilities under the Emissions Trading Scheme either by replanting the exact same land or by planting an equivalent area of land elsewhere in New Zealand that is not currently in forestry. This would be part of a wider compensation package for land owners and would help mitigate the land-value losses associated with the introduction of the Emissions Trading Scheme, which are estimated to be in the vicinity of $3-4 billion, including $2 billion of Māori land-value losses.

A Forestry Offset Scheme has support in principle from parties with 8 out of 13 votes on the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee and 66 votes in Parliament as a whole, and is therefore likely to be part of the final legislation.

The first stage of Professor Evans’ work will be completed by Monday 7 April and will be able to be fed into both the Government’s ongoing refinement of the Bill and the Select Committee’s deliberations.

The Flexible Land Use Alliance consists of Blakely Pacific Ltd, Carter Holt Harvey Ltd, Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd, Forest Enterprises Ltd, Landcorp Farming Ltd, the New Zealand Forest Owners Association Inc., PF Olsen Ltd and Wairakei Pastoral Ltd.

Professor Evans is highly regarded as a specialist in the economics of organisations and markets. His recent research has been in the performance of state and private-sector organisations, telecommunications, electricity and roading, pricing and performance, and a range of law and economics issues regarding contracting, governance, regulation, and competition law. He has authored more than 50 publications and published over 40 refereed articles in leading international and local economics journals.

He is a former member of the editorial board of The Journal of Economic Literature, and was a member of the Electricity Market Surveillance Committee from 1996-2004.

He has consulted for a wide range of companies and governmental organisations, including the Asian Development Bank and the RAND Corporation, a private policy institution in Los Angeles. In 1996, he was awarded the NZIER-Qantas economics award, and in 2005 was awarded the position of Distinguished Fellow of the New Zealand Economics Association


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