Beef + Lamb NZ, Local Authorities, and Local Government NZ:

  • Policy analysis
  • Advocacy with government
  • Defining and leading strategy approach

The Situation

There’s a market operating for the price of carbon, as New Zealand continues to manage our footprint and reduce net emissions. The value of this market has increased significantly. This, in combination with the settings for offsetting these emissions via forestry land, has made transferring existing farmland into forestry much more profitable. In fact, carbon credits can return almost double what sheep and beef farming would achieve on the same land.

Our Role

Sixteen local authorities, Local Government New Zealand and Beef + Lamb NZ, commissioned Lawrence to provide policy and political strategy support to figure out the best way to sensibly manage this trend. This involved understanding the long-term implications of the land use, while respecting people’s rights to use their land as they see fit. Under Lawrence’s guidance, the group has had significant engagement with the sector, including with government ministers, opposition parties, councils, and landowners. Yule Alexander held two successful webinars, each attracting over 100 attendees who have an interest in the issue and are looking to find the right path forward. We also reviewed the government’s RMA option, which would give councils consenting authority on Class 1-5 land. 

The Results

While this continues to be an ongoing issue, Lawrence has successfully led disparate parties to collaborate effectively on what is a very complicated issue. Their collective input has already made an impact. For example, one of the aspects we raised concern for was the use of exotic forestry in the permanent forest category. Our research showed that people would ‘plant and walk away’, meaning they would plant exotic trees to collect the carbon credits and then simply leave the forest. The government listened and understood our assessment, and as a result has come up with some solutions to the issue. These sorts of inroads have been achieved, in part, due to Lawrence’s strategy to take a collaborative and non-aggressive approach in such a complicated long-term policy.

Lawrence continues to work with the group and consult with both major political parties about ways to fix the current issues. The next phase of work will be managing the group’s position around the government’s RMA consenting issues.