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New Zealand Journal of Forestry (2013) 57(4): 42–43
©New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Do not spoil the ship for a ha’porth of tar when deciding how to spend a commodity levy

Hamish Levack 1

1 Forest-owner and a member of the provisional forestry Commodity Levy Board

Let us assume that, at March’s referendum, stakeholders will vote in favour of a 27-cents-a-cubicmetre forest commodity levy. This would bring in $6.5 million a year. How would that be best spent? Preliminary budgets indicate, for example, that about half of it could be reserved for research. However $3.25 million will not enough for all the useful research that could be chosen, so expect debate over which projects should take priority. In the near term, the large-scale forest owners will be paying most of the levy because they will be harvesting most of the wood. Votes on expenditure will be proportional to contribution, so large-scale forest owners will have most influence.
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