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Forestry tax plan is madness

Hon Nick Smith MP
National Party Climate Change Spokesman

18 December 2006

Forestry tax plan is madness

“The tragedy of today’s proposal from Labour is that it will trigger more deforestation at the very time we need to be planting more trees,” says National’s Climate Change spokesman, Nick Smith.

“The threat from the Labour Government to impose a $13,000 per hectare tax on converting forests to agriculture will be counterproductive.

“The tax will act as a huge incentive next year to cut forests down before it takes effect. This is bad for climate change and bad for the economy.

“It will not matter whether this proposal is implemented. Talk of a new tax of this size will get the chainsaws going straight away.

“New Zealand is in a right mess over Kyoto because forest plantings have dropped every year Labour has been in office. Net new forest plantings have dropped from 50,000ha of additional forests in 2000 to a 10,000ha loss of forests in 2005.

“This package is just going to make things worse.

“I am already aware of talk from major forest companies of bulldozing forests and simply allowing the trees to rot to avoid the proposed huge tax bill.

“This is a potential climate change and economic disaster.

“In October, National announced its Bluegreen approach to climate change. We support incentives for new forestry, tradable permits, and increased research on agricultural emissions.

“There are parts of the Government’s package that National can support, but it will fail unless these foolish forestry proposals are quickly dropped.”

ENDS

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