Sustainable agriculture and forestry climate change policies a priority

Hon Jim Anderton
Minister of Agriculture
Minister of Forestry

Hon David Parker
Minister Responsible for Climate Change Issues

18 December 2006

Government Media statement

A significant forestry-planting programme involving thousands of hectares is one of the options being put forward to reduce New Zealand's carbon footprint.

The Government is asking for consultation on proposals for agriculture and forestry, in its comprehensive approach to tackling the threat of climate change.

The Minister for Agriculture and Forestry, Jim Anderton, and Climate Change Minister David Parker today released the discussion document Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change, which outlines policy options to address the risks and opportunities of climate change in the land management sectors.

Mr Anderton says climate change has huge implications for the country and, in particular, for farmers and foresters, who make up the land management sectors.

"Our economy depends on agriculture and forestry.  These sectors will bear the brunt of the economic and environmental impacts of climate change.  Action needs to be taken on a number of fronts to address these issues and support economic growth.

"Climate change presents a very real threat not only to the way we use our land, but to our international markets.  Already there is talk in Europe of border taxes on goods from countries that aren't taking effective action to address climate change.  It's in our economic interest to be part of the global response to climate change.  We need to take action to reduce the risks."

Climate Change Minister David Parker says that over time, all sectors of the economy would have to play their part in doing something about climate change.  "We recognise that some sectors can take action more quickly to reduce emissions than others.  But even those like farming, which are constrained by what they can do without affecting productivity, will be expected to take some actions to reduce emissions - starting now."

"We have been consulting with the land management sector and they are well aware of the broad range of possibilities available to us.  We're putting all the options on the table through this discussion paper, and it's now a matter of getting further feedback, to create a package which achieves the best results for our economy and for climate change."

The discussion document identifies four key areas where options are presented for consultation: adapting to climate change; reducing emissions and creating carbon sinks; capitalising on business opportunities; and working together. 

Some specific options are presented for feedback, especially in the area of reducing emissions, Mr Parker said.  "In that area, some hard choices have to be made, and we are looking for specific guidance from farmers and foresters as to how to achieve tangible reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, while ensuring these vital sectors continue to thrive."

"For example, we are proposing an afforestation grant, to encourage the planting of Kyoto-compliant forests.

"Not only would this enhance our carbon sinks, it would give a boost to the forestry sector, and provide major co-benefits in relation to erosion control, flood protection, improved water quality and biodiversity.

"We are looking at a tradeable permits scheme to combat deforestation, and considering the devolution of carbon credits for new forests.

"In agriculture, we have a 'carrot and stick' approach - where we propose helping farmers do what they can to reduce emissions, through incentives and penalties.

"Nitrification inhibitors have been successfully developed by New Zealand researchers, and are now available for widespread use.  We have set out proposals to encourage their uptake, which will both reduce nitrous oxide emissions and improve water quality while maintaining farm productivity.

"The proposed plan of action is also looking to make the most of business opportunities arising from the global focus on climate change."

The Government is proposing that the sectors and Government work together to develop a Plan of Action identifying goals and activities for dealing with climate change issues.

No decisions have yet been made on the final policy.  The policy package will be discussed with the sector before decisions are taken next year.

Meetings and hui on the Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change discussion document will be held around the country in February and March next year.  Submissions are due by 30 March 2007.

The discussion document is available online at www.maf.govt.nz/climatechange/

Paper copies can be requested from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

For more information contact:

Liz Grant, press secretary to Jim Anderton (04) 471 9172 or 021 227 9172

Jane O'Loughlin, press secretary to David Parker (04) 471 9855 or 021 227 9855

  

 

Last Updated: 24 September 2010

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