The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) has updated the fee structure for the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). Effective from 19 October 2023, understanding these new fees is important for those who are already part of the ETS or considering joining. In this blog, we’ll break down the new fees, tackle some of the most pressing questions you might have about these changes, and share our perspective.
Summary of the New Fees
In total, there are new fees for 22 existing and new ETS services. These range from application costs to emissions returns and more.
Below is a breakdown of some of the most relevant new fees:
Annual fee per hectare of Post-1989 land registered in the ETS
Registering Post-1989 Forest Land
From $488.89 to $4,125.00
Adding More Land into the ETS
From $88.89 to $4,125.00
Move post-1989 forest land registered as standard forestry to permanent forestry
Removing all your post-1989 forest land from the ETS and deregistering
$577.50, plus surrender of all units issued for the forest.
You can view the full list of fees on the MPI website, which you can view here.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How much is the annual charge going to cost me specifically?
The annual charge will be $30.25 per registered hectare. For example, if you have 20 ha registered, your annual fee will be $605.00+GST. This fee is for any forest registered, regardless of its species or accounting method. There is an exemption for indigenous forest which is less than six years old. Note: The annual charge is not the only fee you'll incur. If you submit an emissions return, the fee to process the transaction is $165.00.
When do I need to pay the annual fee?
Do I pay an annual fee even if my forest’s net sequestration is zero or negative?
What if I don’t like this? What are my options to exit or deregister?
What are other fees that MPI is introducing?
We're extremely disappointed by the introduction of these new fees, particularly in the context of permanent native forests which are disproportionately impacted due to their lower carbon sequestration rates and lower gross returns.
The introduction of a compulsory ongoing fee for all registered forest creates a concerning precedent and significantly weakens the incentives of the ETS for native forest restoration - in our view these new fees are in conflict with broader policy objectives around incentivisation of native forest restoration.
While the aim is to shift the financial burden of the ETS for forestry from New Zealand taxpayers to ETS participants, we believe that the impact on native forests carries a high risk of perverse incentives. This is compounded by the ongoing ETS review and uncertainty around the treatment and price of forestry removals in the future.
It's a challenging situation, and like many people, we’re figuring out what this means for our customers and our forests, but despite this uncertainty and new cost, we believe the ETS incentives will continue to provide a net benefit for the majority of landholders.