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Worried forest owners urge Key to act

Press Release – Carbon News

The heads of eight major forestry companies have asked the Prime Minister to intervene directly over the flow of cheap foreign carbon credits into New Zealand, Carbon News reports.Media release

October 1, 2012
Worried forest owners urge Key to act

The heads of eight major forestry companies have asked the Prime Minister to intervene directly over the flow of cheap foreign carbon credits into New Zealand, Carbon News reports.

In an open letter to John Key, the eight chief executives and owners – who between them control 70 per cent of post-1989 forests – implore the Prime Minister “go back to the drawing board and align the Emissions Trading Scheme with those of New Zealand’s trading partners”.

The letter is signed by some of the most significant players in the forestry industry – Blakely Pacific managing director Phil Taylor, PF Olsen chief executive Peter Clark, Ernslaw One managing director Thomas Song, Carbon Farm’s carbon project director Dr Murray McClintock, Roger Dickie NZ owner Roger Dickie and general manager Simon Rapley, Lake Taupo Forest Trust chief executive George Asher, and Craigmore Sustainable founder and chief executive Forbes Elworthy.

Elworthy – son of the late Sir Peter Elworthy, who led Federated Farmers – told Carbon News that the industry was fighting for its life.

The letter to Key was just one facet of the campaign, he says, which includes the public and private lobbying of MPs.

Elworthy says it is unusual for so many senior executives from the forestry industry to be so openly attacking government policy, but they are determined to try to “help the Government to correct what could be a very, very far-reaching mistake”.

Peter Clark told Carbon News, the country’s only specialist information service on the carbon markets, that the group had written the letter because it believed that the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee, which is currently considering submissions on changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme, isn’t listening.

“We got the sense at the select committee that they’ve made up their minds already and weren’t going to be changed,” he said.

Clark says that without similar restrictions on cheap international units already imposed by Europe and Australia, New Zealand has no chance of meeting its target of 20,000ha of forest planting a year.

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