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Government threatening Survival of Primary Sectors

JOINT PRESS RELEASE: FEDERATED FARMERS, NZ FOREST OWNERS ASSN & NZ FARM FORESTRY ASSN.

9 August 2001 PR121/01

Government threatening Survival of Primary Sectors

Confirmation by the Convenor of the Ministerial Group on Climate Change Hon Pete Hodgson that New Zealand intends to ratify the Kyoto Protocol in September 2002, has angered Federated Farmers of New Zealand President Alistair Polson.

Mr Hodgson was speaking to the American Chamber of Commerce in Wellington today.

"Government needs to fully address both the threats and opportunities of the Kyoto Protocol." said Mr Polson. "The Minister has chosen to focus on the opportunities, while ignoring the significant threat to New Zealand's agriculture and forestry industries.

"The Government plans to commit New Zealand to this agreement without an in-depth understanding of the economic implications for agriculture or the wider economy.

"FFNZ is acutely aware of the threats posed by many of our international competitors not bound by the same commitments the New Zealand Government agreed to in Bonn only last month.

Mr Polson's concerns are endorsed by Chief Executive Officer of the New Zealand Forest Owners Association, Rob McLagan and Mike Halliday, President of New Zealand Farm Forestry Association.

"The Government while encouraging forest sinks in New Zealand has also encouraged forest sinks in developing countries. This is likely to create a global wall of wood, which could see parts of the New Zealand forestry production moving offshore to maintain competitiveness, with a loss of job in New Zealand," said Mr McLagan.

"In securing the $400m in sink credits, the New Zealand Government could put at risk the further processing of the timber resource in New Zealand.

"Indications from Government officials suggest that no consideration has been given to the ability of farm forestry to mitigate their on farm emissions from woodlots planted since 1990," said Mr Halliday.

"Climate change policy should not treat land use options in isolation, the united stand taken by landowner groups and the Federation is testament to this."

Government must address the threats to Primary Production before proceeding any further, Mr Polson concluded.

ENDS

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