Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Forest grant scheme will help control erosion

Forest Owners Association
Media release
29 August 2014

Forest grant scheme will help control erosion

Forest owners say the government’s decision to reinstate the Afforestation Grant Scheme will be welcomed by farmers and regional councils fighting soil erosion in steep hill country.

“In the five years in which the previous scheme operated, it was an important funder of plantings on land that is less than ideal for production forestry because of the very steep terrain,” says Forest Owners Association chief executive David Rhodes.

“When this land is eventually harvested it presents economic, environmental and safety challenges. These are being addressed through research funded by a consortium of growers and the Sustainable Farming Fund. This has led to major breakthroughs in the mechanical harvesting of steepland, but more government funding of research is needed in this area.”

He says plantation forestry has a huge potential to boost wealth and employment in the regions. But to achieve this, the productivity and profitability of the existing plantation estate needs to improve.

“There is a major focus on productivity in our current research programme to which the government contributes significant funding. But the government could transform forest profitability overnight by making the emissions trading scheme function as it was intended,” Mr Rhodes says.

“Another critical area for the next government to address will be RMA compliance. This is a real dampener for forest owners, especially those with plantations in the North Island hill country.

“Without a National Environmental Standard, there is no certainty that forest owners will get permission to harvest their forests – especially erosion control plantings, which were mostly funded by government and regional council schemes like the AGS.”

He says initiatives like the AGS are nevertheless important for environmental reasons and are welcomed in that context.

“At about $1300 a hectare to plant a forest, the new AGS will – if it is fully subscribed – plant up to 15,000 ha or an average of 3500 hectares a year.

“On the other hand, if the profitability of our existing forests improved, we could see planting rates of around 20,000 ha a year – as opposed to the current deforestation rate of around 10,000 ha a year.

“But there is a big proviso. No-one is going to make a commitment to a major long-term investment in forestry if they don’t have confidence that the policies of successive governments will treat forestry fairly.

“We can live with fires, floods and windstorms, as well as market swings and roundabouts. But the political risks in the 30-year life of a typical forest are far greater than these.”

Mr Rhodes cites unfair nitrogen allocations in the Lake Taupo catchment that discriminate against Maori forest owners in particular. More recently there was the decision to ban forest owners from paying for their ETS emissions with international units – the only sector to be treated this way. Then there’s the ongoing issue of district councils jacking up their rates so that forest owners pay more than farmers.

He says issues like these could easily be addressed without any cost to the country.

“But the fact is they should not have arisen in the first place. Somehow we have to convince politicians of all parties that they need to have a common vision for forestry and how it might be achieved.

“Giving investors the confidence there won’t be constant policy shocks during the life of their forests is probably the biggest barrier to the sustainable growth of our industry.”

[ends]

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

I Sing The Highway Electric: Charge Net NZ To Connect New Zealand

BMW is turning Middle Earth electric after today announcing a substantial contribution to the charging network Charge Net NZ. This landmark partnership will enable Kiwis to drive their electric vehicles (EVs) right across New Zealand through the installation of a fast charging highway stretching from Kaitaia to Invercargill. More>>

ALSO:

Watch This Space: Mahia Rocket Lab Launch Site Officially Opened

Economic Development Minster Steven Joyce today opened New Zealand’s first orbital launch site, Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, on the Mahia Peninsula on the North Island’s east coast. More>>

Earlier:

Marketing Rocks!
Ig Nobel Award Winners Assess The Personality Of Rocks

A Massey University marketing lecturer has received the 2016 Ig Nobel Prize for economics for a research project that asked university students to describe the “brand personalities” of three rocks. More>>

ALSO:

Nurofen Promotion: Reckitt Benckiser To Plead Guilty To Misleading Ads

Reckitt Benckiser (New Zealand) intends to plead guilty to charges of misleading consumers over the way it promoted a range of Nurofen products, the Commerce Commission says. More>>

ALSO:

Half A Billion Accounts, Including Xtra: Yahoo Confirms Huge Data Breach

The account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (the vast majority with bcrypt) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers. More>>

ALSO:

Rural Branches: Westpac To Close 19 Branches, ANZ Looks At 7

Westpac confirms it will close nineteen branches across the country; ANZ closes its Ngaruawahia branch and is consulting on plans to close six more branches; The bank workers union says many of its members are nervous about their futures and asking ... More>>

Interest Rates: RBNZ's Wheeler Keeps OCR At 2%

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 2 percent and said more easing will be needed to get inflation back within the target band. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news