The government announced today that it will impose an annual $30 per hectare charge on forestry projects that use exotic trees in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). This will be another nail in the coffin of sustainable forestry and climate action at scale according to Ekos.
“After creating massive investment uncertainty for carbon financed sustainable forest management, the government is now imposing another financial penalty on this sector,” said Sean Weaver, Ekos CEO.
“I am staggered at the extent to which the government is intent on punishing progressive sustainable forestry in this country. This annual $30 per hectare charge will push many struggling projects over the edge into the abyss. This will include projects that are doing exotic sustainable forest management to fund native reforestation,” he said.
“Why the government wants to penalise sustainable forestry is beyond me. This is the kind of forestry that gets sustainable certification around the world. The only conclusion that I can draw is that the government simply has contempt for sustainable forestry that uses exotic species, because it seems to be doing everything it can to kill it.”
“We have tried without success to help the government understand that slow growing native forest planting projects under the NZETS typically do not cover their costs. This is why there is no large scale native planting industry. To solve this problem Ekos uses exotic sustainable forest management (which is a good thing) to cross subsidise native plantings – which is another good thing that the public are crying out for.”
To build climate resilient landscapes the government has estimated that the country will need to reforest about a million hectares of land into permanent forest.
“To incentivise this the government is making it harder to do permanent sustainable forestry. We have tried to help them understand the challenges, but the government has its fingers in its ears while blowing rasberries at us,” Weaver said.