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Government Must Get Friendly With Forest Owners

Media Release

9 February 2006

Government Must Get Friendly With Forest Owners

New Zealand First is concerned that forest owners are increasingly converting their land to pasture, and is urging the Government to arrest this trend by ensuring that its policies encourage both the retention of existing forests and the establishment of new ones.

“Large-scale deforestation is a disaster on a number of levels,” said Forestry spokesperson Doug Woolerton.

“It means that we will owe more than we anticipated under the Kyoto Protocol, and it also means that there will be a reduced ability to absorb greenhouse gas emissions.

“New Zealand First has long argued for a tree planting programme as a means of absorbing emissions. We recognise that trees can provide a practical contribution to the abatement of the greenhouse gas impact while also meeting environmental and regional goals with regard to land use.

“We also warned in 2004 about the dire consequences of the lack of funding and incentives to persuade future landowners to move to this form of land use, and the arbitrary acquisition of carbon credits from forest owners. We are now seeing the results in the lowest level of forest cover since 1960.

“It is vital that the Government sends the right signals to the forestry industry, thus enabling New Zealand to meet its obligations and ensuring the future of the industry,” said Mr Woolerton.


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