National forest policy needed, sector body says

Contractors at work on a Dunedin City Council-owned City Forests plantation near Dunedin. PHOTO:...
Contractors at work on a Dunedin City Council-owned City Forests plantation near Dunedin. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
The New Zealand Institute of Forestry proposed introducing a national policy for the industry at the sector's annual conference in an effort to help the Government "develop sound long-term strategies for forestry development".

David Evison, president of the NZ Institute of Forestry, presented the document, titled Forest Policy for New Zealand, to Forestry Minister Shane Jones, who formally opened the conference last week, the group said in a statement.

"Unlike many countries, New Zealand has no national forest policy," Mr Evison said in a statement.

"Government decisions on matters as diverse as climate change, water quality, taxation, overseas investment and land use have too often adversely affected our forests.

"As trees live longer than most plants, a stable policy environment is critical for good forest management," Mr Evison said.

The proposal had been in the works for four years and covered all forests, management objectives, tenure types and all species, the group said.

The plan "outlines five long-term policies to recognise, protect and enhance the many benefits that trees and forests deliver to the environment, economy, society and culture", Mr Evison said.

"If the policy is well implemented, it will result in healthier, better-managed forests which provide much greater value to New Zealand and New Zealanders."

Last month, Mr Jones and Climate Change Minister James Shaw released a consultation paper proposing a dozen improvements to forestry regulations in the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme, addressing gaps and weaknesses in the current carbon accounting methodology, as well as correcting other technical issues that have become apparent since the regulations were last amended.

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