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Body Blow for Farm Forestry

Wednesday 1 May 2002

Farm forestry has taken a low body blow from the Labour Government announcement over their decision to appropriate the carbon credits from this industry, ACT Environment Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff said today.

"It is abundantly clear that the dollars gathered by Government will be diverted away from climate change issues and into social services.

"The Government's preferred policies take no account of the massive absorber of CO2, pastoral farming affords.

"All farmers will be well aware of the substantial increases in topsoil and therefore fertility through out New Zealand. This topsoil stores massive amounts of carbon in the form of plant roots and leaf litter known as humus. The humus levels have increased dramatically in many areas where it is now possible to plough where gravel was once the only cover. Irrigation of the area allows for huge absorption of CO2 where grass above the ground and the roots below the surface stores carbon. This store has been estimated in New Zealand at 3.3 billion tonnes under cultivated land. New Zealand is one of the few countries where humus levels have actually increased.

"The decision by the Labour Alliance Government to impose an estimated 30 million dollars levied for research into lowering methane levels is loaded gun politics - do it or else. I believe this industry should tell the Government we will not succumb to threats based on poor science and bad government.

"The Government also ignores the fact that sheep numbers have fallen 21.6% since 1990. Who gains that credit; the Government," Gerry Eckhoff said.


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