Flexible Land Use Alliance gets support

February 29th, 2008 at 9:15 am by David Farrar

The Flexible Land Use Alliance launched itself yesterday, and seems to have won support for one of its proposals from parties ranging from The Greens to National.

The consists of Blakely Pacific Ltd, Carter Holt Harvey Ltd, Fonterra Co-operate Group Ltd, Forest Enterprises Ltd, Landcorp Farming Ltd, the New Zealand Forest Owners Association Inc., PF Olsen Ltd and Wairakei Pastoral Ltd. I found it very interesting that an SOE is amongst the members – but that is good – they should be able to advocate for sensible policy, so long as they do so openly.

The issue is the deforestation liability on pre-1990 forests.  It has already led to massive deforestation prior to its implementation, and the group has pointed out that it may lock up to 200,000 hectares of land into when it would be more economic to use it for other purposes.

Their preferred position is to exempt pre-1990 forests, but that has been dismissed by the Government (and National) as viable. However their backup option appears to have gathered remarkable support – the Greens, NZ First, United Future and ACT have all backed the backup option of offsetting – which will allow owners to convert a pre-1990 forest to other uses, so long as they plant an equivalent amount of forest elsewhere.

This means that the environmental benefits are much the same, yet the locking up of land in a potentially economically inefficient manner is minimised.

appears to be taking a sensibly pragmatic approach to the proposal:

Forestry Minister Jim Anderton said the concept had been considered already and the conclusion was that the disadvantages outweighed the benefits.

But the Government was happy to look at it again, have the proposal evaluated and discuss it with stakeholders, he said.

One of the things which third term Governments often do, is dismiss any proposal on the grounds they know best, and have already considered it. Anderton’s response could be a template for other Ministers – don’t dismiss out of hand, say you’ll evaluate it again and are open to discussions.

Of course with National appearing to also favour the proposal (“the idea … has merit), it may already have 61 votes in the House, regardless of the Government. But if Labour/Progressive also back it, then one may have near total support for it.  Maori Party are not quoted as to their position, but Maori interests are amongst the Alliance members and they cite the current policy as being a Treaty breach, so I suspect the Maori Party will also be supportive.

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6 Responses to “Flexible Land Use Alliance gets support”

  1. Joker (28 comments) says:

    Has anyone worked out that by incentiving forest owners to leave their trees in the ground as carbon sequestration farms domestic log markets will suffer an enormous supply side squeeze probably decimating NZ’s wood processing sector? It seems the ETS could be a real threat to the $1 billion export receipts the timber industry provides the country.

    I have seen reports that say the domestic price of timber could rise by betweeen 40-60% due to consequenses of the ETS…Good to see Government seriously addressing housing affordability issues.

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  2. bobux (315 comments) says:

    There is potentially a huge issue here that has so far stayed under the radar. Maori interests control very substantial amounts of forested land. Many Maori authorities are said to be extremely unhappy about being liable for carbon charges associated with harvesting their assets. This is viewed by many as a breach of the Treaty principle allowing them full and undisturbed possession of their property.

    As one guy expressed it:
    “Bloody gummint. They screw over your ancestors, give you a forest 100 years later to make up for it, than tell you you can’t cut down the f***ing trees”.

    The last thing the government needs is another Foreshore and Seabed-type debacle unfolding over 2008.

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  3. Linda Reid (341 comments) says:

    Of course, this whole bloody scheme is based on the assumption that growing trees will somehow keep the planet from overheating. Which is rubbish. We need a commission of inquiry into the whole climate change debate with a special emphasis on the best way of dealing with it. Because you will never stop the climate changing.

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  4. Peak Oil Conspiracy (2,433 comments) says:

    I found it very interesting that an SOE is amongst the members – but that is good – they should be able to advocate for sensible policy, so long as they do so openly.

    Three words: Timberlands. Kit. Richards.

    See this for more. The issue was no-logging policy in Timberlands, and is sustainable forestry practices here. The only substantive difference, it seems,is Richards sooked it directly to the Labour-led Government, and they didn’t like it.

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  5. side show bob (3,410 comments) says:

    This is nothing short of total government control. How would some of the arseholes in the ruling elite take the news that their property must not be touched in anyway. No home renovations no mowing the lawns no nothing. They expect these forest owners to take it on the chin and leave the trees in the ground or face huge carbon taxes. So now the fucking government has no respect for property rights. How would they feel if some ahole of a minister told them they can’t utilise their property. These people would have to be some of the most stupid pricks to grace God’s green earth.

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  6. whanga.bar (2 comments) says:

    Of course it is quite interesting to see who does make up the Flexible Land Use Alliance, Blakely Pacific who entered NZ in 1993 (US owned) with the aggressive and unconstitutional land grab at Matakana Island, (1993 is when Carolina Farms, huge rural coastal block south of Whangamata was purchased by Herbert Hoell (US Forestlands) and others, and the Henry’s close by

    Carter Holt Harvey – Nz Forest Products- Henry Family whose business interests are still huge in NZ but not very transparent, with such a huge influence in both legal and business, it makes you wonder who really dictates NZ policy and law in this little banana republic.

    I see the Alliance website has disappeared for now but this snake will reform under a different banner when the need arises

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