Forestry needs to cover road impacts

File picture by Paul Rickard

LETTER

Why is the exotic forestry industry getting subsidised for business-as-usual costs? I can understand R&D subsidies but if the business case doesn’t stack up, why is it being enabled?

It is long-standing council policy that costs which can be attributed to a particular group are met by the exacerbator. That has been the theory but not the reality, as the exotic forestry industry has been effective in lobbying the council for close to a decade to ensure it does not have to carry the extra costs it creates for the council.

The roading crisis is attributable to one industry but the council has decided to give that industry special treatment and make the rest of us pay for it.

A regional road tax to raise the shortfall would mean every resident and visitor would subsidise the extra costs created by exotic forestry.

A central government handout would mean every taxpayer in the country subsidises these extra costs, but all other industries miss out on the same kind of periodic prop-up.

Only a targeted rate on land used for exotic plantations, that covers the additional costs created by logging trucks, ensures that the industry is treated fairly compared to all other industries.

If the industry can’t make it work on an even playing field with others then it shouldn’t be in business, or it should change its business model.

Of course the Forest Owners Association supports GDC when they want other taxpayers and ratepayers to pay their costs, and for some bizarre reason local decision-makers are happy to oblige and blame wet weather or geology, when the evidence from council staff shows the roading costs could be met if the damage inflicted by tens of thousands of logging trucks wasn’t being funded by the rest of us.

If they want to give exotic forestry $35 million of public money then at least be consistent and give $35m to every other industry trying to create safer, more sustainable jobs in the region. Why one, mostly foreign-owned, industry is able to socialise such large costs while privatising the income is unjustifiable.

MANU CADDIE

Why is the exotic forestry industry getting subsidised for business-as-usual costs? I can understand R&D subsidies but if the business case doesn’t stack up, why is it being enabled?

It is long-standing council policy that costs which can be attributed to a particular group are met by the exacerbator. That has been the theory but not the reality, as the exotic forestry industry has been effective in lobbying the council for close to a decade to ensure it does not have to carry the extra costs it creates for the council.

The roading crisis is attributable to one industry but the council has decided to give that industry special treatment and make the rest of us pay for it.

A regional road tax to raise the shortfall would mean every resident and visitor would subsidise the extra costs created by exotic forestry.

A central government handout would mean every taxpayer in the country subsidises these extra costs, but all other industries miss out on the same kind of periodic prop-up.

Only a targeted rate on land used for exotic plantations, that covers the additional costs created by logging trucks, ensures that the industry is treated fairly compared to all other industries.

If the industry can’t make it work on an even playing field with others then it shouldn’t be in business, or it should change its business model.

Of course the Forest Owners Association supports GDC when they want other taxpayers and ratepayers to pay their costs, and for some bizarre reason local decision-makers are happy to oblige and blame wet weather or geology, when the evidence from council staff shows the roading costs could be met if the damage inflicted by tens of thousands of logging trucks wasn’t being funded by the rest of us.

If they want to give exotic forestry $35 million of public money then at least be consistent and give $35m to every other industry trying to create safer, more sustainable jobs in the region. Why one, mostly foreign-owned, industry is able to socialise such large costs while privatising the income is unjustifiable.

MANU CADDIE

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