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Open letter to Jeanette Fitzsimons

Open letter to Jeanette Fitzsimons
in response to her call for feed-back on the Climate Change Bill

Dear Miss Fitzsimons
The proposed ETS – a grievance in the making

There is almost unanimous agreement that there needs to be a mechanism to reduce GHG emissions however the cost of any framework implemented to achieve this must be equitable.

We will give one example of the inequity of the Climate Change Bill you are considered supporting.

The recent so-called Treelords draft settlement with central North Island Maori has been trumpeted as a blue-print for future settlements. The settlement is claimed to be worth $400 to $500 million with the return of 176,000 hectares and over $200m in cash. That statement is factual in the absence of the Climate Change Bill being enacted. The day it is enacted, with the support of the Greens, the picture is turned on its head.

If one assumes that just 50% of the settlement land is suitable for other more profitable uses, the deforestation liability as at 1 July 2009 - the proposed settlement date (on the basis of the emission tables in the draft Regulations) is around $1.69 billion (@ $40/tonne for CO2) - over three times the claimed positive value of the settlement. (The real situation is a negative $1.2 billion.)

If the situation is considered at the end of this rotation and the next (when much of the land would come back unencumbered) and assuming a real rise in carbon prices of 1.5% pa, this liability rises to $47,190 per hectare or $4.153 billion. This is over 10 times the value placed on the settlement!
Looking at the "big picture", ninety percent of Maori owned forested land (600,000 ha) is pre-1990 forests. At emissions of 700 tonnes per ha, the post-harvest (ie year 28) deforestation liability is a massive $15.1 billion, ten times the total value of Treaty Settlements.
How can this be fair or equitable?

The Green party has always portrayed itself as the conscience of the nation and this has earned it the respect of even those on different sides of the political spectrum. For the Green's to ignore the ugly underbelly of this proposed legislation is unconscionable. If the bill is enacted it is going to incur the wrath of many in the future when its full implications for private forest owners, Maori and non-Maori alike, become apparent.

We urge you and your colleagues to consider this submission very carefully before supporting the expropriation of billions of dollars of value from Maori and non-Maori land-owners.

(The Treelords calculations supporting the figures above can be seen at www.nzh1.com/tl.)


Harvey Bell
on behalf of Morikaunui Incorporation

PS The following is an extract from an email we received from you on 21 May in response to our expressing concerns earlier:

"Personally, I think it is essential to address the injustice of returning forests under Treaty settlement then moving to reduce their value."
Now is the time to acknowledge this injustice by not supporting the Climate Change Bill.

Harvey Bell


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