Swaggie, bless her socks, asked a cracker question. She was wondering about carbon tax credits.
About eight years ago she bought a lifestyle block, and looked upon the eight-year old pines as a superannuation investment, for harvesting when necessary and as required.
As Carbon Credits appear to have become the property of the NZ Government, she is concerned that forestry/bush owners will be restricted as to what they can do with their properties in the future. “We’re worried we won’t be able to do this in time, and as the Government has assumed ownership of our credits, that we won’t be able to ‘sell’ the credits ourselves in lieu of other farming activity.”
She wrote she would appreciate a better, more informed perspective of what is happening, and what can be expected in future.
Good question, I thought, and set off to answer it. I made some phone calls to various folk and didn’t get very far. I sent off emails. People seemed to pass me on to other people at an alarming rate. Weeks went by.
I tried university professors and researchers, accountants, forestry types, managers of organisations active in areas of sustainability, environmental types, even a friendly tax inspector. I was getting nowhere quickly.
One fairly typical email came back: “Dear Annette, I should be able to help but unfortunately I can not give the answer you need. I will ask Mr X if he can help or advise who can.” I went to Mr X and he couldn’t help, but suggested I try Mr Y.
Mr Y was more helpful in a real sense and said he’d made some calls on the question as, like Swaggie, his knowledge was ‘shaped by glimpses’ of information.
He then, illuminatingly, went on to say that this view is shared by the people he spoke with. “They generally feel that the policy is hazy at best, so it is very difficult to answer.”
He added that there are no firm guidelines at present, but there will be in the future.
“I do know that the Government is to issue a decision/policy on emissions controls and carbon accounting/trading by the end of the year, so the question may be better answered at that point.
So there you go, Swaggie. Wait until the end of the year and all will be revealed. Maybe. For myself I’m going to chop down all my trees and burn them now.
© Annette Taylor
lifestyleblock.co.nz Investigative Free Range writer Annette Taylor will boldly search out answers to many of the perplexing questions that beset rural dwellers.