National, ACT & Greens, thank you, but what about the others?

8 Mar 2007

The NZ Forest Owners Association has called for all political parties to declare their hands on the ownership of forest carbon credits.

"Earlier this week the National Party publicly stated that it supports forest owners being paid for some of the credits generated by their Kyoto forests," says chief executive David Rhodes.

"This is a welcome development at a time when many people who have invested in the sector are feeling badly shaken by some of the climate change policy proposals that are currently on the table."

Today, ACT leader Rodney Hide said in a speech to the Newmarket Club that forest owners should keep the carbon credits that are due to the trees they own.

"This means National, ACT and the Greens have clearly stated that they believe owners of Kyoto forests should receive payment for the credits generated by their forests. The Greens policy issued last year is the most detailed of these commitments," Mr Rhodes says.

"At a time when the government is engaged in public consultation it would be illuminating to have New Zealand First, United Future and the Maori Party declare their hand on climate change policy for forestry."

Mr Rhodes says all parties represented in parliament support the government's permanent forest sink proposals.

"But the greatest environmental benefits come from privately owned plantation forests because most of the large areas involved. The wood from these forests also contributes to carbon storage, and the process of producing that wood is much less energy intensive than alternative construction materials.

"Wood residues from plantation forests are also being used as a carbon-neutral fuel source, replacing fossil fuels."

He says forest growers are not expecting free hand-outs. It is accepted that carbon credits and liabilities go hand-in-hand.

"What we have seen from the Greens, National and now ACT is a recognition that those who created carbon sinks should have their contribution recognised, and implicitly it means that greater action is required on emissions as the Kyoto Protocol requires."