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On track to conclude climate change agreement

Friday, 05 December 2003 Media Statement

Forestry industry and Government on track to conclude climate change agreement

[Joint statement with Mr Devon McLean, chair of the New Zealand Forest Industries Council; Mr Peter Berg, President of the New Zealand Forest Owners Association; and Mr Denis Hocking, on behalf of the New Zealand Farm Forestry Association.]

The Government and forestry sector expect to conclude a Forest Industry Framework Agreement (FIFA) within the next few months that recognises the sector’s significant contribution to New Zealand’s climate change initiatives. It will include details of a package of policies and programmes designed to support the forestry industry’s future growth in the best interests of the environment, wood processors and forest growers.

Climate Change Convenor, the Hon Pete Hodgson, NZ Forest Industries Council (NZFIC) chairman Devon McLean, NZ Forest Owners’ Association (NZFOA) President Peter Berg and NZ Farm Forestry Association Executive Council member Denis Hocking met recently to progress the proposed FIFA.

Mr Hodgson said that the FIFA would recognise the essential role forests and their owners play in providing the carbon sinks that will help New Zealand to meet its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol.

“Having ratified the Kyoto Protocol, the Government has a keen interest in the health of the commercial forestry sector. Profitable and expanding wood processing industries are an important part of a healthy forestry sector, encouraging new investments and re-investments."

New Zealand Forest Owners Association President Peter Berg said that through the proposed FIFA the industry had sought to address issues surrounding the Government’s retention of carbon sink credits and their associated liabilities by ensuring there were market based incentives for continuing planting.

NZFIC chairman Devon McLean said the parties to the proposed FIFA were well aware that, in the longer term, there needed to be a platform to ensure that forestry can play an even bigger role in emissions reduction and the supply of a sustainable and renewable resource.

“Developing new markets for New Zealand wood products and increasing returns from existing markets are critical goals. One important programme under the proposed FIFA is a jointly funded international market development initiative that has been identified by the industry and the Government”.

New Zealand Farm Forestry Association spokesperson Denis Hocking said that in addition to carbon sinks, forestry directly assists the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by supplying wood and wood products with the benefits of low embedded energy, compared to other building materials, and carbon sequestration from a renewable and sustainably managed resource.

Mr Hodgson said “We are optimistic that agreement can be reached between the Government and the forest industry and that a successful Forest Industry Framework Agreement will be concluded within the next few months”.

ENDS

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