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Government’s Kyoto policy “perverse”, says NZFFA

Government’s Kyoto policy “perverse”, says NZFFA

The Government’s Kyoto policy package announced last week has been described as perverse by the New Zealand Farm Forestry Association (NZFFA), which claims its members are being unfairly punished.

“Farm foresters could contribute up to a third of the carbon credits that the Government is nationalising under the Kyoto Protocol, yet, under the proposed policy, they receive nothing in return,” says NZFFA spokesperson on climate change, Mike Halliday.

“In fact, they are being hit twice, because they are expected to contribute the same levies to methane emission research as the worst agricultural polluters. “What sort of message on environmental integrity does that send out to other industries and individuals at the forefront of sustainable management?”

Mr Halliday says Government officials have repeatedly told the Association that it would only be viable to treat emissions and sinks on an industry wide basis, yet now they are apparently investigating paying incentives to individual small businesses for emission mitigation.

“Our Association is totally frustrated that the Government fails to recognise the unique position of farm foresters who own both forests and livestock. We believe thousands of small land-based businesses have been self-mitigating their alleged methane emissions with carbon sinks for decades, yet the sole reward for those businesses is the perverse policy of confiscation and levy.”

He says that while the Government has announced some incentives and allowances for the forest industry, these will mainly benefit the big players. Any incentives for permanent forest sinks apply across the board to all landowners.

“The message from Government is quite clear; if you pollute we will help you mitigate, if you are environmentally responsible, we will take advantage of that, then punish you.

“This attitude, along with the refusal of the Attorney General to comment on whether the Climate Change Response Bill breaches the Bill of Rights, clearly demonstrates that the Government’s sole focus in the whole climate change debate is to capture the income from carbon credits and to let the environment take care of itself.”

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