10th August 2012
EDS's national conference Growing Green: Transformation of farming, fishing and forestry held earlier this week focused on two questions: how could we green farming, forestry and fishing; and how could we diversify our economy and speed the development of low carbon, low environmental impact goods and services.
"Given the outcomes from previous EDS Conferences, which included the creation of the Land and Water Forum, we are keen to push on with new initiatives that will lift New Zealand's environmental performance," said EDS Chairman Gary Taylor.
The conference heard about good progress being made in the farming sector, with still some distance to go. But we are on the right trajectory with the Land and Water Forum, Fonterra and Federated Farmers providing real leadership.
The forestry sector was especially open and frank in its presentations and revealed that some parts of New Zealand currently in plantation forests should not continue given steep terrain, highly mobile soils and difficulty of extraction. On the up side, exciting prospects of using trees to make New Zealand independent in liquid fuels were canvassed.
The conference concluded that urgent government action is needed to increase the price of carbon so that sequestration becomes viable. Government also needs to promulgate a National Environmental Standard on forestry. This is required before East Coast forests come to their next harvesting cycle and should map areas for conversion to permanent native forests.
The fishing sector is an area where some gains can be made. There are opportunities to add value, like they do in Iceland, through utilising the entire fish. There are also opportunities to reduce environmental effects and to address conflicts with other users especially in the in-shore areas.
Urgent government action was called for on new marine reserves legislation and on marine spatial planning.
"We also examined potential new tools under the Resource Management Act including biodiversity offsetting. This has potential but will need to be used with care. Conference delegates also questioned the justification for reform of sections 6 & 7 of the Act," Mr Taylor concluded.
EDS Policy Director Raewyn Peart announced that two Peak Dialogue Groups will be set up by EDS: on local government reform and fishing.
More: Gary Taylor (09) 810 9594
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