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World leaders to address EDS land use conference

_Media Release

05 June 2008

World leading personalities to address EDS land use conference

Mike Barry, head of CSR at Marks & Spencer, is among a host of world leading academics and business people to address a forthcoming Auckland conference on changing land use in rural New Zealand.

The Marks & Spencer carbon labelling and CSR strategy, ("Plan A - there is no plan B") is at the forefront of the global response to climate change and sustainability, and Mr Barry's address is expected to hold important clues about where the European consumer market is heading, and the implications for the New Zealand primary sector.

Conflict in Paradise: The Transformation of Rural New Zealand, is being organised by the Environmental Defence Society in partnership with Federated Farmers, Lincoln University and the NZ Landcare Trust and will be held at The Langham Hotel, Auckland from 11-12 June.

Significant keynote speeches will be given by Dr Michael Buxton, Associate Professor Environment and Planning at the school of Global Studies, RMIT University, Melbourne, Professor Robert Costanza, Professor of ecological economics from University of Vermont, and Jorgen Primdahl, Professor of Countryside Planning at the University of Copenhagen.

Other highlights will be a forum discussion featuring Hon Jim Anderton, Hon Dr Nick Smith, Jeanette Fitzsimons and Charlie Pedersen, an address by Jeremy Moon, founder of Icebreaker, and Professor Caroline Saunders, Professor of trade and environmental economics at Lincoln University.

This conference will focus on the broad issue of rural land use change - what changes are likely to occur over the next 25 years and how they can be managed to achieve positive environmental and economic outcomes for New Zealand. Current trends in rural land use which will be examined include:

• Intensification of agriculture

• Conversion of forestry and sheep and cattle farming to dairying

• Diversification into high value produce such as kiwifruit, wine, and organics

• The changing footprint of forestry

• Establishment of native forest regeneration projects

• Subdivision of rural land for urban and rural-residential development, particularly in high amenity areas such as the coast, lakesides and high country

• Establishment of major infrastructure on rural land including windfarms, pylons, roads, storage dams and pipelines

• Use of rural land by the tourism sector.

These trends have significant and differing environmental implications for landowners, greenhouse gas emissions, water quality and quantity, landscape and biodiversity protection and the natural character of the coast, all of which will be examined.

These environmental impacts, in turn, have important economic implications through their impact on the integrity of New Zealand's 'clean and green' brand which helps leverage increased margins for our produce overseas and attracts tourists to our shores. The conference will examine increasing consumer concerns about food miles and carbon footprints in key international markets and the links between rural land management practices and the ability of export industries to leverage off the national brand.


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