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KFA Supports Key Call For Reopening Of Submissions

KYOTO FORESTRY ASSOCIATION

MEDIA STATEMENT

Sunday 18 May 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

KFA Supports Key's Call For Re-Opening Of Select Committee Submissions

The Kyoto Forestry Association (KFA) says it supports Opposition Leader John Key's call for submissions to be re-opened on the Climate Change (Emissions Trading & Renewable Preference) Bill.

Earlier today, Mr Key said that the emissions trading scheme "has been subject to last-minute changes, including the decision to push out the date for inclusion of the transport sector". Mr Key said that "this decision has flow-on effects that the Select Committee has been given no opportunity to analyse" and that "for that reason, significant amendments to the bill should be tabled in Parliament, referred to the Select Committee alongside the Bill and be subject to public submissions".

KFA spokesman Roger Dickie said the association agreed with these comments.

"We said 12 days ago that if there are changes to when other sectors are brought into the Emissions Trading Scheme, that risks seriously devaluing the carbon credits that post-1989 forest owners have been earning since 1 January 2008," he said.

"While the Government has dismissed our concerns, the reality is that the proposed changes to the timetable are acting as a major disincentive to investors planning to plant new forests in 2008 and beyond, which is counter to the Government's intention of increasing forest cover in New Zealand. In fact, we believe the change almost guarantees that no new planting will take place in 2008/9. Unless we start planting forests then not only will the forestry industry continue to remain in a state of suspension but New Zealand will be forced to buy the vast majority of its credits offshore."

Mr Dickie said the Select Committee was the right place to consider the proposed changes to the timetable and its effect on the value of carbon credits.

He said that KFA also welcomed Mr Key's commitment to aligning New Zealand's emissions trading scheme with Australia's, including allowing trans-Tasman tradability.

"It would be a big boost to the New Zealand forestry industry if Australians were able to buy carbon credits off New Zealand forestry investors. It would encourage investment in the industry which would be good for New Zealand jobs and good for the global environment," he said.

Mr Dickie urged all other parties in parliament, including the Government, to look favourably on Mr Key's ideas.

From 2003 to 2007, KFA ran a high-profile campaign for carbon credits to be returned to their rightful owners, the New Zealand investors who risked their capital to invest in New Zealand forestry since 1990. The campaign led to the announcement by Forestry Minister Jim Anderton in September 2007 that the Labour/Progressive Government had agreed that carbon credits would be earned by those who planted trees since 1 January 1990 and by those who plant new forests in the future.

ENDS

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