Registering for the NZ Emissions Trading Register

Carbon credits in the ETS are called New Zealand Units (NZUs) and are stored and transferred through the New Zealand Emission Trading Register. To receive NZUs from the government for your forest, you’ll need a holding account with the New Zealand Emission Trading Register. This can be set up and managed by you or someone on your behalf.

Register as a user of the NZ Emissions Trading Register

  • Open an account on the Register.
  • After you have registered as a user, you can open an account in the Register for you, your company, the land trust or another legal entity.
  • Accounts hold units like bank accounts holder money. You need to have one if you want to receive, hold or transfer units to buyers.
  • Write down your account number.

Determine roles on your account

You can choose to do everything on the Register yourself, or you can appoint other people to carry out the functions in the Register e.g. to submit emissions returns for you and manage your units. This is particularly useful for trusts, where otherwise all trustees would have to sign as the Account Holder.

Anyone who is going to fill an online role for your account must first register as a user. Note that rights and obligations of participants remain with you, not the authorised representative.

Check out how a consultant, broker or trader can help with this process.

Map Your Forest

You must include an electronic map of the forest you want to register (called the ‘forest land map’). Forest land maps must meet requirements set out in the Geospatial Mapping Information Standard.

Register your forest with MPI

You now need to register as an ETS participant with MPI and register your mapped, consented, forested land into the ETS.

Find out more about being paid for carbon farming through the ETS at the Ministry of Primary Industries

You can be a registered ETS participant but also authorise someone to act on your behalf e.g. sign documents, make enquiries. Because an authorised representative can make decisions relating to your ETS participation for your forest land, you should carefully consider this authorisation. All rights and obligations of participants under the Climate Change Response Act (2002) will remain with you, not the authorised representative.

Ongoing obligations

Once your forest land is successfully registered you will have ongoing legal obligations. To be in the Emissions Trading Scheme, you must:

  • file an emissions return once in every five-year mandatory emissions return period to account for changes in your forest’s carbon stock
  • pay units back if your forest’s carbon stock decreases
  • tell the government if you transfer some or all of your registered post-1989 forest land to another person or entity (for example, if you sell your forest)
  • repay units transferred to you for the forest land if the land is withdrawn from the ETS
  • use the Field Measurement Approach if you have more than 100 hectares.

Once registered as ETS participant, landowners can:

  • claim NZUs for the amount of carbon stored as the forest grows
  • apply to add or remove forest land in the ETS at any time.