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Budget ‘fail’ on local climate change solutions

Media Release

26th May 2017

———————————————————

For Immediate Release

Budget ‘fail’ on local climate change solutions

Investment opportunity missed by factor of 10

The Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA) is concerned at what wasn't in yesterday’s Budget. The stagnant level of funding for growing local forests is not good enough for dealing with climate change challenges. We have a land base and local tax-paying businesses are sitting in a prime position to ‘think global and act local’.

“What was not in the Budget is just as important as what is. From our perspective we need more like $200 million for planting trees locally”, says FICA president Ross Davis.

“On any analysis, the Budget sum of less than $20 million for planting is just business as usual. A much greater effort is needed and Government leadership here would be a double-win, had they been brave enough to invest in forests for New Zealanders on our own land,” added Davis.

“Planting trees is the most effective way of spending money to ensure New Zealand meets its commitments to the Paris Agreement on climate change.”

“The double win is that big forest plantings would sequester far more carbon and rural community employment could be boosted. Moving New Zealand much further to meet our international commitments on climate change and boosting local economies is better than paying cash to overseas groups where past experiences have been riddled with fraud.”

Davis says FICA’s view is that a greater financial signal could have been made in the Budget announcement so tree nurseries and forestry employers could begin planning for a growth boost. We need time to plant seeds and grow seedlings. How can politicians not get that solving our climate change and boosting local businesses is a good thing?

“We’re not even concerned about the mix of indigenous forests and production species, like douglas fir and radiata pine. We just need to get on with the job of building a bigger New Zealand carbon sink base,” added Davis.

“Let’s see hard-earned taxpayers’ money invested in projects with multiplied economic benefits. Our mission is all about sustainability. Boosting local forests has to be good for the environment and our local economies,” says Davis.

Ends


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