14 February 2007
Misinformation campaign hollow talk from hollow men
A campaign misrepresenting the Government’s Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change discussion document is an effort by vested interests to whip up unfounded fears says Forestry Minister Jim Anderton.
“My colleague Climate Change Minister David Parker and I have made it abundantly clear that we favour maintaining flexible land-use through a Tradable Permits Regime. However, the Kyoto Forestry Association and the National Party continue to claim the Government is proposing a $13,000 per hectare tax on deforestation. This is wilful ignorance and deceit designed to create alarm in the community,” said Jim Anderton.
A tradable permit regime would involve no taxation and allow foresters to trade amongst themselves to set their own value on deforested land. It would also provide a small financial gain for those wanting to stay in forestry, while those planning to change their land use would begin to start paying some of the real costs. The Government expects to release a discussion document on the design of a tradable permit regime next week.
“Deforestation is a major issue and accounts for 25% of the world's CO2 emissions. As a country, we have to work out a way of managing it. There are also many other environmental impacts such as increased flooding and nutrient run-off.”
The National Party’s Blue Green discussion document makes only one suggestion dealing with deforestation and that is to remove a cap on deforestation. The present cost of that policy to taxpayers is estimated to be $651 million dollars.
“I want to know from the National Party how they plan funding this alongside tax cuts or is this just another hollow promise from hollow men?” said Jim Anderton.
“The Kyoto Forestry Association’s Roger Dickie also claims the Government has stolen Kyoto credits, but forest owners have never owned such credits in the first place. Kyoto credits are not a property right in the same way that emissions from agriculture and transport are not a property liability.”
“Most Kyoto forests were planted before the Kyoto protocol was even negotiated and certainly well before it came into force in February 2005. Devolving credits for trees already planted would therefore have created a $1.24 billion windfall all at the expense of ordinary taxpayers, with no increase in carbon storage whatsoever.”
Proposals to place no controls on deforestation and give windfall credits to Kyoto forest owners are estimated to cost taxpayers $1.89 billion dollars. To meet this cost it would be necessary for the Government to impose the same amount on the farming community for methane emissions they can do little about.
“If the National Party supports Mr Dickie’s proposals, and one can only assume they do given that Mathew ‘Hollow Men’ Hooton is running Mr Dickie’s campaign, then I am interested to know when the National Party plans to tell its supporters in the farming community that they would be getting a very large bill under a National government,” said Jim Anderton.