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

 

Cosmetics & Pollution: Proposal To Ban Microbeads

Cosmetic products containing microbeads will be banned under a proposal announced by the Minister for the Environment today. Marine scientists have been advocating for a ban on the microplastics, which have been found to quickly enter waterways and harm marine life. More>>

ALSO:

NIWA: 2016 New Zealand’s Warmest Year On Record

Annual temperatures were above average (0.51°C to 1.20°C above the annual average) throughout the country, with very few locations observing near average temperatures (within 0.5°C of the annual average) or lower. The year 2016 was the warmest on record for New Zealand, based on NIWA’s seven-station series which begins in 1909. More>>

ALSO:

Farewell 2016: NZ Economy Flies Through 2016's Political Curveballs

Dec. 23 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand's economy batted away some curly political curveballs of 2016 to end the year on a high note, with its twin planks of a booming construction sector and rampant tourism soon to be joined by a resurgent dairy industry. More>>

ALSO:


NZ Economy: More Growth Than Expected In 3rd Qtr

Dec. 22 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand's economy grew at a faster pace than expected in the September quarter as a booming construction sector continued to underpin activity, spilling over into related building services, and was bolstered by tourism and transport ... More>>

  • NZ Govt - Solid growth for NZ despite fragile world economy
  • NZ Council of Trade Unions - Government needs to ensure economy raises living standards
  • KiwiRail Goes Deisel: Cans electric trains on partially electrified North Island trunkline

    Dec. 21 (BusinessDesk) – KiwiRail, the state-owned rail and freight operator, said a small fleet of electric trains on New Zealand’s North Island would be phased out over the next two years and replaced with diesel locomotives. More>>

  • KiwiRail - KiwiRail announces fleet decision on North Island line
  • Greens - Ditching electric trains massive step backwards
  • Labour - Bill English turns ‘Think Big’ into ‘Think Backwards’
  • First Union - Train drivers condemn KiwiRail’s return to “dirty diesel”
  • NZ First - KiwiRail Going Backwards for Xmas
  • NIWA: The Year's Top Science Findings

    Since 1972 NIWA has operated a Clean Air Monitoring Station at Baring Head, near Wellington... In June, Baring Head’s carbon dioxide readings officially passed 400 parts per million (ppm), a level last reached more than three million years ago. More>>

    ALSO:

    Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Business
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news