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National's forestry policy ignores the obvious

National's forestry policy ignores the obvious

Auckland 24 September 2008 - National needs to tackle corporate dairy farming's role in deforestation if it wants to truly improve forestry in New Zealand, says Greenpeace.

"Corporate dairy farming is driving current rates of deforestation," said Greenpeace Senior Climate Campaigner Simon Boxer. "Tens of thousands of hectares of forests have already been felled to make way for corporate farms. Another half million hectares is at risk; over seven times the size of Lake Taupo and a quarter of the nation's total plantation.

"National's forestry policy fails to mention this. Every political party's forestry policy must level the playing field by making agriculture pay for its environmental impact under the emissions trading scheme (ETS).

"Until this is done, the forestry sector and the climate will continue to pay the price. So will Kiwi taxpayers, as our Kyoto bill skyrockets."

Agriculture is currently exempt from the ETS until 2013. Greenpeace is calling for the sector to be included well before that date.

Mr Boxer also called for National to ban illegal forest product imports if it leads the next government.

"National's forestry policy falls well short of what's needed to promote sustainable forestry. Its feel-good pledges won't ensure that illegally logged timber is kept out of New Zealand.

"Recently, environmental NGOs and New Zealand foresters agreed on a joint position to tackle imports of illegally sourced wood products. National should back this position by agreeing to ban imports of wood products."

Greenpeace is campaigning for a halt to forest conversions for dairy farming, for agriculture to be brought in under the ETS before 2013 and for New Zealand to set an overall emission reduction target of 30 per cent by 2020.

ENDS

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