Bill to amend ETS forestry timing

Friday 19 June 2009, 9:18AM
By Nick Smith

The Government today introduced a bill into the House amending technical aspects of the timing of the emissions trading scheme relating to forestry.

"The bill delays reporting requirements under the ETS and publication of an allocation plan by the Government because the Emissions Trading Scheme Review Committee process is yet to be completed," Dr Smith said.

"The current law under the Climate Change Response Act requires foresters to have reported any deforestation during 2008 by 31 January 2009 and to apply for exemptions for small forest blocks by 30 June 2009. These dates are unreasonable given the Committee review and the lack of public awareness of these requirements. Without this bill, many forest owners would unknowingly find themselves in breach of the law or adversely affected.

"Nor does it make sense for the Government to publish an allocation plan by 30 June 2009 for pre-1990 forest owners when issues over offsetting and the underlying ETS approach to forestry are under consideration by the Review Committee.

"New Zealand is the first country in the world to attempt to introduce forestry into an ETS. These extensions are about taking the time to get critical details right for an industry that is of enormous financial and environmental importance to New Zealand.

"The Government's intent is for the bill to have a first reading next week. We have consulted with other parties in Parliament and have the support to pass the bill through all stages by 30 June 2009.

"The Government intends to introduce a substantive climate change amendment bill later in the year once the ETS Review Committee's work is completed."