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Government stifles foresty growth

Brian Connell

National Forestry Spokesperson

13 April 2004

Government stifles foresty growth

New Zealand's third biggest export earner is under threat from the Government's climate change legislation, says National's Forestry spokesman, Brian Connell.

Mr Connell's comments come in response to figures just released by Statistics New Zealand which show new areas planted in forestry have decreased to 22,500 hectares for the year ended 31 December 2002.

"This is down 34 percent on the previous year, and indications from industry experts is that figures for the 2003 year will be even worse," says Mr Connell.

"Foresters are reluctant to plant new areas because the Government's climate change legislation will penalise them to the tune of between $20,000 and $25,000 per hectare if they change their land use.

"The climate change legislation is turning investors away in their droves.

"This will be disastrous for the industry, and these figures should have alarm bells ringing in the Minister's office.

"The forest industry is projected to earn about $20 billion in the year 2025, but this figure is in danger of being torpedoed.

"The Government was keen to nationalise forestry credits, so now they should front up and assume the liabilities as well.

"They have placed one of our biggest employing and export earning industries in jeopardy and they should be held to account," Mr Connell says.


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