Greens accused of torpedoing forestry offset deal
Forestry lobbyists say the Green Party rejected a forestry planting offset deal, which would have encouraged the planting of more trees and protected the property rights of pre-1990 forestry owners including Maori.
A forestry source says the Green Party rejected a proposed amendment, which would have allowed pre-1990 forestry owners to offset deforestation since 1990 by replanting trees in other, more marginal land, at a rate of 1.3 to 1.
This would have meant more trees planted, which would have been carbon positive, according to lobbyists.
But Greens leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says she doesn’t remember the proposal. And she says that such a proposal would still not come close to offsetting the carbon liability that the deforestation would create.
That’s because under international Kyoto rules the deforestation creates a liability equal to the amount of carbon held in, say, 30-year old trees. But any replanting, unless it is done on the same land, only creates a carbon credit equal to new saplings.
“It wouldn’t have in any way compensated,” Ms Fitzsimons said.
A supplementary order paper proposing a 1:1 forestry offset programme was introduced to Parliament by National on Tuesday, but was defeated.
This leaves pre-1990 forest owners in a difficult position. They are forced to pay for deforestation on their land since 1990, but get few of the carbon credits earned by those plantations before 1990, says Paul Morgan, chief executive of the Federation of Maori Authorities.
Ngai Tahu has already lodged a claim to the Waitangi Tribunal saying that the value of its Treaty settlement in 1998 will be ravaged by the new emissions trading scheme. The tribe says it never wanted forestry land, and always planned to convert it to dairy in the future when existing cutting licences expired.