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Confused Hodgson insults forest owners

Brian Connell MP National Party Forestry Spokesman

14 June 2005

Confused Hodgson insults forest owners

Pete Hodgson's latest comments which claim to 'set forest owners straight on Kyoto policy' are not only grossly insulting to the forest industry, but also miss the point completely, says National Party Forestry spokesman Brian Connell.

"What the forest industry needs to know, and what New Zealanders deserve to know, is what will happen if the 10% cap on deforestation of pre-1990 forests is breached," says Mr Connell.

"Mr Hodgson point blank refuses to answer, saying the cap is 'well above the historic deforestation trend'.

"How many people need to tell Labour the deforestation rate is so high that the cap is very likely to be breached before they'll answer?

"Mr Hodgson ridiculed the Forest Owners Association for saying forest owners will face a carbon liability if they cut down their pre-1990 forests without replanting them.

"But unless Labour have suddenly revoked their carbon tax without telling anyone, the $6,000 to $20,000 per hectare charge will come into force if the cap is breached.

"To add insult to injury, Mr Hodgson tried to pat himself on the back by claiming that, even though the pre-1990 forests don't generate any credits, the Government has nonetheless agreed to accept a capped liability for deforestation.

"Such a claim of altruism is appalling, especially when it is this Labour Government that has encouraged deforestation," says Mr Connell.

ENDS

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