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Forestry scheme to get the chop - Labour

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Stuart Nash
Stuart Nash

Wellington, July 13 NZPA - Documents show the Government plans to axe a scheme to encourage people to plant new forests, a move Labour says is foolish.

Labour Party forestry spokesman Stuart Nash said recently released budget documents showed the Afforestation Grant Scheme -- under which people can access a contestable fund designed to encourage planting new forests -- would be reduced by $2 million a year over the next three years and then ended.

"The planting of trees is vital to New Zealand meeting its Kyoto commitments," Mr Nash said.

"Trees eat carbon, as opposed to, for example, livestock that produce it. The only reason New Zealand doesn't have any international carbon liabilities is because of the amount of forests planted after 1990."

He said forestry also had the potential to be a large employer at a time when unemployment figures were high and the scheme's loss would also impact on local councils.

"Half the funding is available to regional councils to help them meet their sustainable land management objectives. For example, the Hawke's Bay Regional Council has proactively marketed the Afforestation Grant Scheme as an opportunity for Hawke's Bay landowners to establish new forests," Mr Nash said.

"The scheme encourages regional economic development and promotes an activity in forestry where everyone wins: the landowner, the region and the country."

(Seeking comment from Forestry Minister David Carter)

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