Thursday, 11 February 2021 08:55

An open letter to Government

Written by  Dave Read
Dave Read says the Climate Change Commission report heavily relies on forest planting to offset emissions. Dave Read says the Climate Change Commission report heavily relies on forest planting to offset emissions.

OPINION: Dear Ministers Nash and Shaw,

The Climate Change Commission (CCC) has presented a report with a lot of rhetoric about the importance of reducing gross emissions.

However, it heavily relies on forest planting to offset emissions, while we delay tackling transport, yet again. There is no mechanism suggested to limit the surge in exotic afforestation unleashed by higher carbon prices under the ETS. The Government is very happy at the unexpected low cost of the actions proposed by the CCC.

Late last year, Te Uru Rakau released the report Economic Impacts of Forestry in NZ by Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC). This report maintains that forestry is a better land use than sheep and beef farming on our hill pastures, producing more direct employment and a better economic outcome for NZ.  This report is deeply flawed.

The acting director general of Te Uru Rakau has refused to withdraw this report, so I have taken a case to the Ombudsman.

Here is a summary. Points 1 & 2 together mean that the reality is that sheep and beef farming generates more direct employment per 1,000ha, not less.

In brief:

  1. It ignores standard practice by StatsNZ when allocating categories. For instance, it includes among forestry direct employees silviculture workers, but excludes shearers from sheep and beef.
  2. In reaching its headline employment conclusions, it assumes that one third of pastureland that is in tussock is suitable for afforestation, despite our on-going efforts to eliminate wilding pines on this land.
  3. Despite Te Uru Rakau calling for a time series of data PwC choose only 2018, a year of record high log prices, for its economic comparison.
  4. It ignores the fact that expanding the forest estate will not increase on-shore economic activity to the same level as at present. Our limited domestic market and history of reduction of on-shore processing, mean any expansion will only increase whole log exports.
  5. In the version of the report that I obtained, it references Stats NZ tables that do not exist.

I am happy to supply the documents that support my assertions or discuss this issue further.

Dave Read

RD 3

Wairoa 4193

 

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