Catchment restoration investment will drive clean water and more jobs

A $20 million injection into catchment groups across the country will deliver hundreds of jobs, training opportunities, and help clean up waterways, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Forestry Minister Shane Jones announced today.

Projects in the Bay of Plenty, Rangitikei, Canterbury, and across Otago will get a share of $10m from the Government’s Jobs for Nature package to help with land restoration, wetland protection, remediation of waterways, planting, pest control, and the increased uptake of farm environment plans.

Catchment group projects in Auckland, King Country, Wairarapa, Tasman, Canterbury, and Otago to enhance water quality, soil conservation and ecological restoration will benefit from $10m from the One Billion Trees fund. Continue reading

ETS revamp: averaging accounting for forests aims to have more trees planted

Changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) aim to result in 89 million more trees being planted in the coming years and an extra 45 million tonnes of carbon dioxide stored in New Zealand’s forests.

Forestry Minister Shane Jones and Climate Change Minister James Shaw announced the changes to the ETS as part of broader reforms to make the scheme fit-for-purpose.

The  announcement includes the introduction of averaging accounting for all forests registered from January 1 2021 and the option to use the new accounting method for all forests registered in 2019 and 2020, Mr Jones said.

“By taking a long-term view of the amount of carbon in a production forest, averaging means forest owners will be able to trade more carbon (NZUs) at lower risk, and not have to worry about finding units to repay when they harvest.

“It’s essential the ETS provides the right incentives for forestry over the long term so we can deliver on our One Billion Trees programme as well as our commitment to taking action on climate change and supporting the transition to a low emissions future.

“We’ve heard from the forestry sector about the need to make the ETS simpler while increasing the incentives to plant trees – simpler accounting for the carbon stored in trees will make a positive difference for anyone considering investing in forestry.

The timing of the decision – as the 2019 planting season is about to get under way – should enable forest owners to go ahead with planting this year knowing they can choose the new system.  The Ministers hope this provides the certainty they’ve been seeking as a sector.

Mr Shaw said Cabinet had also agreed to several operational changes to streamline the ETS process for forest owners.

“We will improve the emissions rulings process where applicants can get an assessment of their land prior to investment and enable the use of a mapping instrument to make applications even easier,” he said.

“These proposals work together: the improved emissions ruling process will be in place once the legislation changes, while we develop the mapping instrument over the longer term.

“These changes to the ETS are part of a number of overlapping policy levers that aim to strike the right balance between production and protection. We need clean water and reduced greenhouse gasses. We also need food and employment, including in the regions.”

Besides these important forestry changes, the Government is developing more amendments to the ETS.

Mr Shaw said these changes will improve the ETS to support New Zealand’s commitment to the Paris Agreement and our transition to a low emissions future.

The Government aims to introduce the changes to Parliament around the middle of this year.

It is  also making the scheme fairer, and creating the ability for the Crown to make sure people are operating within the intended framework, Mr Shaw said.

Source:  Minister of Forestry and Minister for Climate Change

Govt funding of $5.5m aims to get everyday Kiwis planting trees

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will provide a $6.6 million boost to a well-established Trust to get New Zealanders planting native trees nationwide.

The funding, over three years, will go to Project Crimson Trust’s Trees That Count campaign, which was launched in 2016 and connects tree planters with tree funders, Forestry Minister Shane Jones said.

“The Trust’s goal is to motivate New Zealanders to plant as many native trees as possible. This funding will allow Trees That Count to significantly scale up its efforts to mobilise more people to get out there and plant native trees to mitigate climate change, improve the environment and increase biodiversity.

“We want everyone – children, mums and dads, grandparents, teenagers, iwi and private businesses – to be part of the nationwide native tree planting movement as part of the One Billion Trees programme.

“The funding will deliver significant social and environmental benefits and I’m pleased the Government has been able to partner with Project Crimson and build on the fantastic work the Trust does.

“The funding will also be used to encourage businesses to fund trees which can be gifted and then planted by everyday Kiwis. Landowners will also be able to pledge land to ensure there are various ways of participating in this common goal.

“Trees That Count will support the development of educational resources, skills and employment for communities. Training is being developed with NorthTec, a local iwi and their plant nursery. Six regional advisors will be employed to train and connect land owners, tree funders and planting groups.”

This is about more than an investment in trees – it’s an investment in people, regional communities and the environment, Mr Jones said.

Source: Minister of Forestry

Govt’s new forestry agency enters Mānuka partnership as part of grand planting plan

Te Uru Rākau – the name the Government has given to its newly established forestry service – will partner with Mānuka Farming New Zealand to plant 1.8 million mānuka trees across New Zealand this year, Forestry Minister Shane Jones has announced.

The Government has a target to plant one billion trees over the next ten years.

“Doing this will require innovation and genuine partnerships with the private sector, local councils, iwi and NGOs,” Mr Jones said.

“Te Uru Rākau will provide up to $1.8 million to Mānuka Farming New Zealand to source seedlings, work with landowners to undertake site assessments to assess land suitability, and provide an overall planting plan.

“Seedlings will then be provided free of charge to landowners who proceed with planting. Individual assessments to assess land suitability for establishing Mānuka plantations will take place this month and next and planting will occur from July to September.”

Mānuka is a valued native forest species and plantations can help prevent erosion as well as providing diversified income streams and environmentally sustainable land-use options for landowners, Mr Jones said.

Products from Manuka, such as honey and oil, are in high and increasing demand both domestically and globally.

The planting plan will take into account the suitability of available land for production of Mānuka honey, readiness for planting this winter, and availability of suitable Mānuka cultivars.

Mānuka Farming New Zealand will buy most of the seedlings from Kauri Park Nurseries and already has 100,000 seedlings available.

Landowners will need to cover the costs of dispatching the seedlings from the nursery, pest and weed control, fencing if required, planting costs and post-plant monitoring.

This approach extends to the funding of initial consultancy services to landowners via Mānuka Farming New Zealand.

“This will include confirmation of sites suitable for Manuka, ensuring effective pest control is in place, land preparation can be completed in time for planting, seedlings are matched to the available site and confirmation that labour for planting is available,” Mr Jones said.

Landowners who are interested in this initiative are advised to contact Mānuka Farming New Zealand directly.

Source: Minister of Forestry

National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry take effect

New plantation forestry regulations will better protect the environment while improving productivity within the forestry sector, Forestry Minister Shane Jones says.

The new National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry come into effect today.

Mr Jones says they provide a nationally consistent set of regulations to manage the environmental effects of plantation forestry activities undertaken in New Zealand’s 1.7 million hectares of plantation forestry.

“Forestry is our third largest primary industry but its efficiency has been hindered by variation in planning rules across New Zealand’s multitude of councils,” he says.

“Many large forests cover multiple council boundaries, resulting in different rules for the same forest.

“From today that forest will be governed by one set of rules.

“Greater certainty around the rules should encourage more investment in the forestry industry, providing a boost for regional economies. The regulations also create a consistent operating environment for any plantation forestry established under the One Billion Trees programme.”

The standards are based on existing good practice standards for the forestry industry and include three risk-assessment tools developed to manage the environmental impacts from forestry, covering the issues of erosion, wilding conifers and fish spawning.

“The benefits of these tools are that the restrictions on forestry activities are related to the environmental risk rather than which council area a forestry operation is in,” Mr Jones says.

“The regulations cover eight core plantation forestry activities: afforestation, pruning and thinning to waste, earthworks, river crossings, forest quarrying, harvesting, mechanical land preparation and replanting. Councils may apply stricter rules for these activities in specific circumstances to manage locally significant or sensitive areas.”

The standard was developed jointly by Ministry for Primary Industries and the Ministry for the Environment. It was gazetted in August 2017 with a delay in commencement to 1 May 2018 to enable councils and foresters to understand their responsibilities under the regulations and put in place processes to meet these responsibilities.

Foresters and councils have been supported in this process through a series of regional workshops. These were attended by more than 600 foresters and council representatives throughout New Zealand.

The National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry will be reviewed in 12 months to ensure they are being successfully implemented.

Source: Minister for Forestry