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Forest owners urged to look at Australian policy

The Forest Owners Association is telling the government that Australia’s support of plantation forestry is in sharp contrast to the increasingly restrictive measures being promised in New Zealand by our government.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently announced an $86 (Aust) million package for forestry for Tasmania. Morrison said the biggest government forest support package for more than 30 years would leverage at least $300 million in total investment into plantations. He said global demand for timber products was expected to quadruple by 2050.

The President of the New Zealand Forest Owners Association, Phil Taylor, said the New Zealand industry was not seeking the type of financial support being delivered in Australia.

“Basically, all we want to do is get on with growing trees and responding to strong world and local demand.  Our problem is a sequence of messages from the government on new rules to restrict forest expansion. [We recently] saw on the ‘Sunday’ programme the government was planning to put a stop to the right to convert a whole farm to forestry.”

Taylor said that if there was a problem with carbon farming, then that should be treated separately.

“A modest expansion of the exotic plantation estate is vital to provide enough carbon sequestration capacity for the government to budget for a carbon zero economy by 2050.

The right signals have to be sent to farmers and other landowners to ensure this happens and these are not the signals we are getting at the moment.”

Related: EDS attack on forestry ignores threat of climate change

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