Today’s news that the total area of forest in New Zealand has reduced by 14,000 hectares highlights the need for sustainable Green New Deal forestry solutions, the Green Party said today.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry figures also show that only 1000 hectares of new forest were planted in the last year.
“These figures show the urgent need for investment to stimulate new planting in New Zealand,” Green Party Forestry Spokesperson Catherine Delahunty said.
“The Green New Deal package we released earlier this month would see the planting of 665,000 hectares of new forests in the next ten years, creating more than 36,000 job years and storing almost 34 million tonnes of carbon. This would include permanent native forest as well as trees for timber.
“It’s a win-win-win scenario for the forestry industry, the economy, and the environment.
“Forestry Minister David Carter says the Government is moving quickly to restore confidence and turn the planting figures around. If this is true then he should look seriously at the solutions proposed in the Green New Deal,” Ms Delahunty said.
The Forest Owners Association is concerned that uncertainty about the emissions trading scheme and other factors are deterring investment in planting.
Ms Delahunty said the Green New Deal would provide certainty for forest owners by proposing that the Government underwrite the price of carbon for new forests at $25 per tonne. The price floor would not be accompanied by a price ceiling and would be optional for foresters.
The Green New Deal would also adjust the rules of current planting incentive schemes like the Permanent Forest Sinks Initiative and the Afforestation Grant Scheme to make investment in planting more attractive, and encourage new planting on Crown land.
The Green New Deal is a Green Party plan to tackle three of New Zealand’s biggest problems at once: the economic crisis, the environment crisis, and the climate change crisis.
To date, the Greens have released two packages of costed, ‘shovel-ready’ stimulus initiatives. The $323 million home insulation scheme agreed with the Government was part of the first Green New Deal package.
Read more about the Green New Deal and download the full documents: www.greens.org.nz/greennewdeal