For­est own­ers con­sider bio-se­cu­rity levy

New Zealand Logger - - Forest Talk -

AN AD­DI­TIONAL LEVY IS BE­ING DIS­CUSSED BY FOR­EST OWN­ERS to help fund the fight against in­tro­duced pests in the fu­ture.

But it would only come into force in the event of an in­cur­sion.

The in­dus­try al­ready levies a sum on ev­ery plan­ta­tion tree har­vested in New Zealand that goes to­wards re­search and other in­dus­try re­quire­ments.

But now the New Zealand For­est Own­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (FOA) and the New Zealand Farm Forestry As­so­ci­a­tion (FFA) are con­sid­er­ing rais­ing a sep­a­rate biose­cu­rity levy as part of their obli­ga­tions un­der the Gov­ern­ment In­dus­try Agree­ment (GIA).

The GIA is a part­ner­ship be­tween pri­mary in­dus­tries and the Gov­ern­ment to man­age fu­ture in­cur­sions of pests and dis­eases, which could im­pact on the econ­omy and the en­vi­ron­ment.

The two or­gan­i­sa­tions are look­ing at ap­ply­ing to the Gov­ern­ment for the right to in­tro­duce a biose­cu­rity dual levy on seedlings and cut­tings, as well as har­vested wood prod­ucts to re­cover the costs of fight­ing any new biose­cu­rity threat.

Be­fore the in­dus­try signed the GIA it was the Gov­ern­ment’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to de­cide how best to deal with any new biose­cu­rity threat.

Since the for­est in­dus­try be­came a part­ner, its rep­re­sen­ta­tives now have the right to be in­volved in any re­sponse de­ci­sions, which means it would also be re­quired to pay a share of costs as­so­ci­ated with any re­sponse.

The NZFOA says: “Po­ten­tially the great­est threat to the plan­ta­tion for­est in­dus­try is a biose­cu­rity in­cur­sion.

“An in­cur­sion could af­fect all grow­ers and does not re­spect bound­aries, own­er­ship or size. Ef­fec­tive man­age­ment of an in­cur­sion re­quires gov­ern­ment and for­est grow­ing sec­tor col­lab­o­ra­tion via the sec­tor Gov­ern­ment In­dus­try Agree­ment (GIA). It is pro­posed that the For­est in­dus­try GIA re­sponse will be ini­tially funded by bor­row­ings from com­mer­cial en­ti­ties, with a levy un­der the Biose­cu­rity Act act­ing as col­lat­eral and sub­se­quently be­ing in­voked to ser­vice any loan.

“Due to the long time pe­riod for a for­est crop to ma­ture and be har­vested, a dual levy is pro­posed on seedlings/cut­tings and har­vested wood prod­ucts. This is seen as spread­ing the levy take more eq­ui­tably over the for­est in­dus­try.”

The pro­posed biose­cu­rity levy on seedlings/cut­tings will be 1-to4c per seedling/cut­ting. In con­junc­tion with a biose­cu­rity levy on har­vested wood prod­ucts of 10-to-26c per tonne, the levy has been struc­tured to bring in a max­i­mum of ap­prox­i­mately $10mil­lion per year, based upon an as­sump­tion that har­vest is 34mil­lion m³/an­num, re­sult­ing in 63,000ha re­plant­ing and with new plant­ing of 40,000ha per an­num.

The levy would raise up to 80% of the to­tal cost from a charge on har­vested prod­ucts (logs, wood­chips etc) and no more than 20% would come from for­est cut­tings/seedlings.

The levy will ini­tially be set at zero un­til in­cur­sion costs are in­curred un­der the GIA agree­ment and the cost to the in­dus­try of any in­cur­sion would be capped at 80% and not open-ended.

NZL

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