Forest owners welcome Nat policy

24 Sept 2008

The NZ Forest Owners Association has welcomed the release of National’s forestry policy for the 2008 General Election and said the party has listened to forest grower submissions.

“We are pleased that the party has confirmed its earlier commitment to take measures to address the plight of those forest owners who are being heavily penalised under the emissions trading scheme for planting trees before 1990,” said president Peter Berg.

“The use of an innovative mechanism to overcome one of the flaws in the design of the Kyoto Protocol for NZ foresters is a step in the right direction and can only be applauded. Its benefits will be two-fold – an unfair penalty on land-use change will be removed and a momentum will be generated for planting on land that really needs to be in trees.”

He says he also encouraged by the intention to refine the Forest Industry Development Agenda (FIDA).

“We have made it clear that the FIDA funding provided through the current government has been instrumental in progressing some valuable areas of common interest including regional development funding for roads in Northland and Tairawhiti, co-funding of research and support for wood design initiatives and the NZ Wood promotion.

“While a new government will inevitably want to put their stamp on future strategic direction, we are very pleased that the programme would be retained by National.”

Mr Berg says reform of the Resource Management Act, especially the development of national standards for normal forestry operations, has long been a forest industry priority.

While slow progress is being made in getting these accepted by the Ministry for the Environment and Local Government New Zealand, it would be greatly assisted by a firm direction from the executive.

“We look forward to seeing National’s policy on the RMA. While the party has focussed on cutting red tape for big projects – which is important – our concern is to see processes steamlined for everyday forestry operations like planting, roading and harvesting.

“If a forest owner complies with agreed national standards, resource consents should be no more than a formality.”

For more information, please ring Peter Berg, Tel 021 421 291, or David Rhodes, Tel 0274 955 525