5 October 2023
Changes have been made to how the effects of commercial forestry are managed. The changes give councils more power to decide where new forests are located, and the regulations now apply to both plantation forestry and exotic continuous-cover forests (carbon forests) that are deliberately established for commercial purposes.
The regulations are now called the National Environmental Standards for Commercial Forestry (NES-CF). They were previously called the National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry (NES-PF).
3 October 2023 – Submissions released
From 6 October to 18 November 2022, the Government consulted on options and proposals to amend the Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry) Regulations 2017 (NES-PF).
We're now releasing the submissions we received.
14 June 2023 – Decisions have been made to amend the National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry (NES-PF)
There are 3 key areas of change to the NES-PF:
- expand the types of forests controlled by the NES-PF to include exotic continuous-cover forests ('carbon forests'), to manage their environmental (biophysical) effects as if they are plantation forests,
- enable councils to develop local rules and policies to manage the location of new exotic continuous-cover and plantation forests, and
- make operational changes to enable foresters and councils to better manage the environmental effects of forestry including slash and wilding pines – these changes respond to the Year One Review.
The Cabinet papers detailing what Cabinet has agreed to, including the recommendations report, will be proactively released prior to the amended regulations coming into force.
The regulatory changes, subject to Cabinet agreement are planned to be enacted by October 2023.
The Government sought your feedback on 4 topics relating to afforestation and management of plantation and exotic carbon forests. The proposals sought to:
- manage the environmental effects of all exotic carbon forests
- control the location of afforestation (plantation and exotic carbon) to manage social, cultural, and economic effects
- improve wildfire management in all plantation and exotic carbon forests
- address the most important findings of the Year One Review of the NES-PF (National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry) regulations.
Submissions closed at 5pm on 18 November 2022.
The Government proposed changes to the NES-PF. These changes aimed to enable better management of both plantation and exotic carbon forests.
In New Zealand, we are seeing greater investment in forestry due to:
- demand for wood products
- a developing bioeconomy
- a large increase in the price of carbon
- forestry's role in sequestering carbon, which is critical to reaching our emissions reduction goals.
Increasing carbon prices in the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) may lead to levels of permanent exotic afforestation that are higher than expected.
If large-scale changes in land use are not managed well, they could have a harmful effect on the environment, rural communities, and regional economies. We need to ensure the right forest is planted in the right place, for the right purpose, and managed in the right way.
The proposed changes aimed to achieve the Government's goals set out in the Emissions Reduction Plan.