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Forestry climate change policy debate welcome

1 May 2006

Forestry climate change policy debate welcome

The Minister of Forestry, Jim Anderton, has welcomed a pamphlet produced by the forestry industry suggesting ideas for climate change policy.

"However, it is disingenuous to suggest that forest plantings are falling due to the Government's climate policies when planting has been reducing since before Kyoto was signed and it is well known that the relative profitability of pastoral farming, particularly dairying, is driving a shift in land-use away from forestry," said Jim Anderton.

"It is also misleading to claim that policies to encourage planting, even if urgently implemented, will make a difference to our Kyoto position in the First Commitment Period. Forestry will play a useful role in combating future climate change but it will be of limited value in reducing New Zealand's liability in the short-term," said Jim Anderton.

"Climate change is much more than just the Kyoto Protocol and the Government is looking beyond to the much larger issue of an increasingly unstable climate and the effects this will have on a New Zealand economy so heavily reliant on primary production," said Jim Anderton.

"The Government is particularly seized with the climate change issue and is devoting significant resources to developing policy. Right now departments across government have dedicated staff working hard on a comprehensive policy package. Issues affecting the forestry sector have been identified for specific attention and the sorts of ideas put forward by the foresters are being considered," said Jim Anderton.

"It is unreasonable to expect instant answers. When considering the future of all energy generation and transport modes, all agriculture and forestry, and the nation's future in a changing climate you are talking about the most broad-reaching policy questions imaginable. This work will necessarily take time and needs thorough analysis and consideration to ensure we come up with solutions that are durable," said Jim Anderton.

"I sympathise with sectors, such as forestry, that are finding the policy process frustrating. However, it is important we get the framework right for the whole of New Zealand, now and in future. The issues might seem simple from one sector's perspective but the interdependence of policy between sectors and modes of production raises significant and complex issues. It is vital we get a coordinated package that is in the best interests of the future of both the New Zealand economy and our environment," said Jim Anderton.

ENDS

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