[2 April/Farmers Weekly]

Neil Walker, a Taranaki farmer, hoped proposed changes would add clarity to the eligibility rules for forests joining the Emissions Trading Scheme. Confusion over criteria made it not only difficult to set aside land as ETS carbon sinks, but deprived owners of poor performing, inaccessible land of a valuable source of income. Land owners can generate new income from carbon planting due to the Government’s ambitious greenhouse gas emission goals. A Ministry for Primary Industries spokesman said it was aware of landowner concerns and that they were working on operational improvements. Mr Walker said landowners had a role if the country was to meet its goal of being carbon neutral by 2050. He could not be told whether his property qualified for the ETS until after it was planted. By definition, land must already be in forest when the assessment is made.