Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) supports the Government’s inquiry into forestry slash in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle.
The Government has announced a ministerial inquiry into slash and its relationship to forestry management practices following widespread damage to the North Island’s East Coast.
“This is something we have been calling for and it must be a robust inquiry to ensure that this can never happen again,” says B+LNZ CEO Sam McIvor.
“Slash destroyed countless kilometres of fencing, destroyed bridges, blocked access to farms in desperate need of help and damaged farm infrastructure that will take farmers years to rebuild.”
McIvor says the Government previously provided funding to plant much of this exotic forestry and is now encouraging further wholesale land use change from pastoral-based farming into exotic trees via the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The increasing price of carbon credits is distorting what land is worth and productive farmland is being sold for the future planting of trees.
“We are seeing new exotic planting occurring across the country without the required forethought of consequences our rivers and communities will face 30 years from now.
“The rate of whole-farm sales and conversions is out of control. We keep hearing of more and more whole-farm sales for the purposes of exotic carbon farming and this is gutting rural communities and jeopardising the $12 billion income per year our sector generates for New Zealand.
“Although the relationship between carbon farming and exotic forestry is a nuanced one, these activities are now tied. We can’t look at the mismanagement of exotic forests without also looking at the complete lack of management of carbon forests, and the relationship to the wider ETS settings.
“This is why we urgently need limits on the number of forestry offsets available in the ETS to fossil fuel emitters, in line with what happens in other countries internationally.
“Sheep and beef farmers want answers to why this has happened and why the Government continues to drag its feet in addressing this issue.
“I also want to be very clear that B+LNZ is not anti-forestry. We know a lot of farmers are looking to integrate trees on farms – exotic and native – and that’s a good thing, and there is absolutely a place for production forestry in New Zealand.”
For more information, please contact James Ford on 027 235 9806 or firstname.lastname@example.org