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Labour snub of forest owners backfires

Hon Nick Smith - National Party Environment Spokesman

29 June 2005

Labour snub of forest owners backfires

National Party Environment spokesman Nick Smith says Labour has only itself to blame for foresters locking their gates on government officials.

Dr Smith says this action by foresters will see Labour's problems with the Kyoto Protocol go from bad to worse

"Under the Kyoto Protocol, forest credits cannot be claimed without verification and this cannot be done without ground access. Without forest sinks, New Zealand's carbon balance would deteriorate from a 36 million tonne deficit to a 107 million tonne deficit."

Labour's carbon tax is based on $15 per tonne but internationally it is trading at $34 per tonne.

"This debate over access and verification is a $2.4 billion issue for New Zealand and won't go away without meaningful dialogue with the forestry sector," says Dr Smith.

"It is no wonder the foresters have got upset when Labour has taken their forest credits, threatened them with debits if they do not replant, and socked the transport and process industry with a carbon tax. Add this to the debacle over access to private land and it is little wonder foresters have had enough.

"This action leaves Labour's Kyoto policy in tatters.

"A fresh approach to climate change is required, and this can only happen with a change of government.

"National will dump the carbon tax and drop Jim Sutton's destructive public access proposals. We will work with the forestry industry to see whether Kyoto can be made to work for New Zealand. Withdrawal from Kyoto must be a live option if these issues cannot be resolved," says Dr Smith.

ENDS

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