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Labour governments bad for new forestry plantings?

Thursday, 18 August 2005

Labour governments bad for new forestry plantings?

United Future forestry spokesman Gordon Copeland said today that United Future's call for a dramatic increase in the level of forestry plantings is borne out by the history of plantings in New Zealand, especially under Labour administrations.

"Through the whole period 1920 -2005, forest plantings have crashed almost every time a Labour government has been elected," he said.

"It is a curious phenomenon going right back to the days of the first Labour government.

"In the early part of the century forest plantings peaked in 1930, and then dropped away significantly during the term of the first Labour government. The same phenomenon was repeated during the two terms of the Lange-led government and again under the current Helen Clark-led government.

"The only exception to the rule was the Kirk government.

"By contrast forest plantings boomed under National in the 1970s, the 1980s and again the 1990s.

"Objectively I therefore have to conclude that Labour simply doesn't understand forestry and the current classic example of that is their inability to use the opportunities provided by the Kyoto Protocol to ignite new plantings by providing carbon credits.

"The government has, as a result, been badly caught out. It did not expect the planting levels to drop, nor did it account for any deforestation.

"This is a serious issue and unless Labour can lift its game and lift it significantly, Kyoto could be an unmitigated disaste, and that's a risk that we must not take.

"Frankly it's time for Labour to get its act together when it comes to expanding the New Zealand forest estate and carbon sinks through new plantings," said Mr Copeland.

ENDS

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