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Practise what you preach on deforestation

Hon Dr Nick Smith MP
National Party Climate Change Spokesman

13 December 2007

Practise what you preach on deforestation, Minister

Climate Change Minister David Parker’s calls in Bali for an end to global deforestation ring hollow, when at home deforestation is at an all-time high, says National’s Climate Change spokesman, Nick Smith.

“Deforestation in New Zealand will top six million trees this year. This comes on top of losses of three million trees in 2004, 2005, and 2006. New Zealand planted more trees than it felled for every year from 1951, when records began, until 2003.

“It defies belief that Mr Parker believes he can preach to the world the need to stop deforestation, when at home his policies are driving record forest losses.

“The rush of deforestation in areas like Canterbury and the Central North Island is so bad that sawmills now have giant backlogs amounting to more than a years log production. This is occurring because forest owners are rushing to avoid carbon charges coming into effect on 1 January 2008, and shows how poor policy can backfire.

“Deforestation is the key reason New Zealand will not meet its Kyoto target. Net emissions are up 23% on 1990 levels. In contrast, Australia, which has a strong afforestation policy, has had only a 4% net increase in emissions and is on target to meet Kyoto.

“It is just not credible for Mr Parker to be the global champion for forests, when at home he has presided over the loss of 15 million trees.”


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