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Kyoto forest group need to stick to the facts

23 June 2005 Media release

Kyoto forest group need to stick to the facts

Suggestions by the Kyoto Forest Owners Association that the Kyoto Protocol regime is to blame for reductions in forest plantings in New Zealand massively twist the truth according Minister of Forestry, Jim Anderton MP.

"The decline in forest plantings began in 1994, under a National government and has continued on a steady path since. This was before the Kyoto Protocol was ever heard of. The decline is inextricably linked to expected financial returns and influenced most significantly by commodity prices, exchange rates, shipping costs and returns from alternative investments such as dairy farm conversions. Forest sinks are only a small part of that equation.

"To suggest that sink credits are some sort of private property is also a serious misrepresentation of the facts and Roger Dickie needs to put his personal financial investment concerns aside in order to consider the facts in the clear light of day. Sink credits are not a property right, they arise out of an international agreement negotiated by and between governments, which take on the liabilities and obligations incurred.

"Making sink credits attributable to each individual forest owner and linked to each tree would incur huge compliance, administration and litigation costs. If credits were devolved in this way, landowners would be liable for the monitoring and verification of the amount of carbon in the forest concerned, for carbon losses at harvesting or have an obligation to replant. Such obligations would impose substantial costs on an already difficult industry.

"What's more, Dickie's plan to make those responsible for emissions pay foresters for credits would simply result in a huge bill for taxpayers. Furthermore, he overlooks the fact that the credits would have to be paid back at the point of each harvest.

"Dickie would do well to scrap his reported $2 million anti-government political campaign and invest it in creating new permanent forest sinks which do earn credits precisely because they are permanent.

"The best way to ensure forestry is a profitable and sustainable business is to promote and encourage value added processing in order to lift the value of both our forests and what we produce from them, which is exactly what the Labour Progressive government is doing. I recently announced new funding of $18 million for forestry and wood processing and will continue to engage with the Forestry Industry at levels never seen under National governments," Jim Anderton said.

ENDS

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