Im­proved ETS scheme to boost new forests

New Zealand Logger - - Dana Conference 2018 -

HIGHER IN­COME FROM AN IM­PROVED ETS SCHEME WILL DRIVE the ex­pan­sion of plan­ta­tion forests in New Zealand in the fu­ture, says a se­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial.

Julie Collins, head of Te Uru Râkau, the new forestry di­vi­sion of the Min­istry of Pri­mary In­dus­tries, says a fo­cus cur­rently be­ing con­sid­ered for the ETS is to make the car­bon mar­ket more ‘liq­uid’.

This will see a move to ‘av­er­ag­ing’ of new forests for car­bon cred­its, which means that in­stead of hav­ing to pay all of the units back when the for­est is har­vested, for­est own­ers may be able to keep up to 60% pro­vided the trees are re­planted. So they’ll be able to sell those cred­its and earn ad­di­tional in­come, as well as sell­ing the wood.

Along with other changes be­ing pro­posed, Ms Collins says this will make it eas­ier for for­est own­ers to get into the ETS and man­age their car­bon li­a­bil­i­ties.

This should de­liver a sig­nif­i­cant in­cen­tive for pri­vate in­vestors to de­velop new forests with­out the need for sup­port from the pub­lic purse.

But there is still a con­sid­er­able amount of land that cur­rently needs in­cen­tives to help own­ers de­velop new forests and one of the tools that is help­ing to make this hap­pen is the joint ven­ture pro­gramme be­ing de­vel­oped by Crown Forestry to plant up to 24,000 hectares in 2018 and 2019 in part­ner­ships. Cur­rently, 5,000 hectares has al­ready been con­tracted to go into forests.

Ms Collins also ac­knowl­edged that one of the big­gest chal­lenges to the gov­ern­ment’s plans to ex­pand forestry in New Zealand is the short­age of labour in key parts of the in­dus­try.

“This is hit­ting nurs­eries, plant­ing and sil­vi­cul­ture and in some places, log­ging,” she says. “So one of the key things we are go­ing to need to do is see how we are go­ing to im­prove our work­force pipe­line and bring more peo­ple into the sys­tem and get them trained up for these roles and to re­tain them.

“We do know that to get some of Mr Jones’ nephs off their couches will re­quire more sup­port to get work ready.

“One thing the in­dus­try needs to do to help is sig­nif­i­cantly im­prove its track record in em­ploy­ment con­di­tions and health & safety if we truly want to be­come the first place for peo­ple look­ing at fu­ture ca­reers.”

Mean­while, she says her or­gan­i­sa­tion is now look­ing at what it needs to do to de­velop a skills and train­ing pack­age that can fur­ther as­sist the in­dus­try. An­other fo­cus will be to look at do­mes­tic log sup­ply and en­cour­ag­ing more wood pro­cess­ing to be done in New Zealand. Among the schemes be­ing con­sid­ered that will as­sist the in­dus­try is the devel­op­ment of a wood-first pro­cure­ment pol­icy for use in gov­ern­ment build­ings.

“And once we’ve got those pieces in place we are look­ing at de­vel­op­ing a com­pre­hen­sive fu­ture forestry strat­egy.”

NZL

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