Offset scheme not full answer to land values losses

Thursday 28 February 2008, 2:34PM
By Flexible Land Use Alliance

The Flexible Land Use Alliance is warning that the Forestry Offset Scheme it is promoting to policymakers is not the complete answer to the destruction in land values that would occur were forests planted prior to 1 January 1990 included in the proposed Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

Under the Forestry Offset Scheme, owners of pre-1990 forests will be able to meet their liabilities under the Emissions Trading Scheme when harvesting their forests either by replanting the same land or planting the same area of other land that is not currently in forestry.

The Alliance says it would go a long way towards encouraging the planting of the more than 800,000 hectares of seriously eroding hill country land that is not currently in forestry but for which forestry is likely to be the highest and best land use.

It also says it would provide some degree of compensation for the loss of land value that would occur if pre-1990 forests were included in the scheme.

“No one should be under any illusion, though,” the Alliance’s spokesman, Ross Green, said today. “The loss in land values associated with inclusion in the ETS would be enormous. Some land would become literally valueless. A Forestry Offset Scheme is an important component of any compensation package, but it is far from representing full or fair compensation.”

The Alliance says it will work in good faith with the Government to develop a full and fair compensation package should Parliament decide to proceed with including pre-1990 forests in the ETS.

The Flexible Land Use Alliance, launched in Wellington today, 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.