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Changes to forestry provisions in the ETS

20 September 2021

Amendments to the Climate Change Response Act 2002 in June 2020 delivered a range of improvements to the NZ Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). These reforms aim to drive a substantial increase in afforestation, reduce operational complexity and improve ease of compliance for forestry participants.

Most of the new forestry provisions will come into force on 1 January 2023 and apply to all newly established forests in the ETS. However, some new provisions (notably a new penalty regime) have already come into force, while infringement offences targeting low-level non-compliance take effect on 1 January 2022.

Averaging accounting

A key change is the introduction of averaging accounting which is mandatory for forests registered in the ETS from 1 January 2023. Averaging accounting takes a long-term view of the amount of carbon in a production forest, meaning forest owners will be able to trade more carbon (NZUs) at lower risk and won’t have to pay back units provided the forest is re-established.

Other changes

Other changes effective from 1 January 2023 include a temporary adverse event exemption which reduces the impact of events such as fires, a new permanent forest category in the ETS, and the ability to ‘offset’ liabilities for the deforestation of one forest by planting an equivalent forest.

New regulations

Regulations to give effect to the legislation are currently being developed and at the same time Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service is designing the services to support the legislative process and implement new regulations.

New technology

Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service aims to make it easier for forest owners and landowners to decide whether participating in the Forestry ETS is right for them. The new technology will support more forestry ETS transactions, provide greater functionality and transparency for participants and other users.

Find out more at ForestTECH 2021

Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service is running a half-day pre-conference workshop at ForestTECH 2021 on the morning of 22 November. This will provide the opportunity to understand more about the changes being undertaken and the implications for foresters, including a new operating model, new technology platform and the new regulations. The workshop will also cover the recent Year One Review of the National Environmental Standards for Plantation (NES-PF) and its ongoing role in resource management and response to climate change.

Bookings for this free workshop along with event registrations can be made through the ForestTECH 2021 website for those attending the conference, or directly to adele.maurice@mpi.govt.nz for those not attending the conference.

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