19 Sep 2012

Farm foresters critical of ETS changes

10:46 pm on 19 September 2012

The Farm Forestry Association says the Government's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) has lost its way and no longer meets the purpose for which it was intended

The association was among more than a dozen organisations and individuals to make a submission in Wellington on Tuesday afternoon to Parliament's finance and expenditure select committee which is considering the ETS Amendment Bill.

Farm Forestry executive member Hamish Levack says if the bill goes through Parliament unchanged there will not be any restriction on the import of carbon credits.

"The market signals that we get from Hungary or the Ukraine are totally unrelated to our market.

"As it stands, the bill ensures that our carbon price is too low to encourage effective mitigation measures in New Zealand and that will result in increasing deforestation and put forestry development into reverse.

"When you're talking about forestry, you need to think about the other environmental benefits which are additional to fixing carbon.

"So we need a forestation to stop the loss of soil from the hill country to reduce flood, produce silt on the low country, to reduce the riverbed aggregation and damage to property and infrastructure.

"We've got to maintain or enhance the quality of drinking water for humans and animals and industrial water for irrigation and industry, and we need to inhibit nitrogen run-off into lakes."

He says if the bill is reported back to Parliament without any changes, it will undo all the good work the Government has done in creating an emissions trading scheme

The association represents the interests of 15,000 small scale forest owners who between them have more than half a million hectares of plantation forest.