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Forest owners not convinced by Peters’ Bill

2 September 2016

Forest owners not convinced by Peters’ Bill

New Zealand forest owners are unconvinced a proposed Bill will ensure long term viability for the forest industry.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has told the New Zealand Institute of Forestry in Dunedin this week that a Bill he proposes will both maintain the national forested area and develop more processing capacity in New Zealand.

Forest Owners’ Association President Peter Clark says from what he understands of Winston Peters’ Bill the opposite will happen.

“Our industry certainly wants continuity of supply for both export and domestic industry. But passing a law will not suddenly produce grown trees in the ground. Nor will it work having the government tell forest managers when they can, and when they cannot, harvest their trees. Mr Peters’ formula doesn’t in any way increase the capacity for more timber processing in New Zealand.”

Peter Clark says the best way to ensure the New Zealand timber processing industry grows and invests in improvements and greater capacity, is to have more trees in the ground.

“For farmers, Māori landowners and forestry investors, the most important factors will be forest profitability and land use policy stability. The forest sector is keen to work with Government as it reviews the policies and rules which have an impact on all land users under the Emissions Trading Scheme and fresh water quality.”

“Trees lock up atmospheric carbon, and can also allow some farming intensification, while they maintain or improve water quality. Forest genetics are improving all the time. That means rotations can be shorter on good growth sites. Forests provide both biodiversity and recreational opportunities as well.”

“Recognition of the wider community benefits in land use and Emissions Trading Scheme policies is what is needed – not restrictions on when, or to who, forest owners can sell their trees,” Peter Clark says.

“We’d love to see more farmers invest some of their land in growing timber. That makes economic sense to the farmer because it gives them another source of income apart from their livestock.”

“But Mr Peters’ idea of having a reconstituted Forest Service spending taxpayer dollars to establish and maintain forests is not the answer. There are more pressing demands on our taxes, with improved roads in many rural areas being an obvious one that would also help with forest profitability.”


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