Saturday, December 2, 2023

Forestry takes aim at ‘ideological crusade’

Neal Wallace
Constant policy tinkering runs counter to benefits of carbon forestry.
Reading Time: < 1 minute

Carbon foresters have called for a moratorium on consultation and government policy reviews related to the sector.

Andrew Cushen, the chief executive of the Climate Forestry Association, told the Carbon Forestry conference that in the past year the sector has had to make multiple submissions on proposed changes to legislation.

The list included the introduction of fees for the Emissions Trading Scheme and a review of that scheme, changes to the Resource Management Act and a review on the status of permanent forestry category.

“Over the last six to 12 months we have not been having a policy conversation, but we have seen an ideological crusade about something that offers a perfect climate outcome,” he said. 

“You may have gathered I am a bit angry about that.”

Cushen told the conference that this constant policy tinkering runs counter to the benefits carbon forestry provides.

These, he said, include financial returns for some classes of land and a greater number of jobs than agriculture provides, giving Māori landowners a return on their land, a pathway to re-establishing permanent native forestry at no cost to taxpayers and carbon sequestration at pace and scale.

“They are outcomes for which I think we should all pat ourselves on the back.”

But instead, he said, members are constantly under the scrutiny of policymakers.

In addition to a policy moratorium, Cushen called for an end to the ETS review, which he said could be damaging, does not make sense and could make the scheme unaffordable.

He called on the sector to collectively stand up and promote about what the industry does and what it has achieved.

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