Scoop Hivemind: Restoring and Protecting Biodiversity

Published: Mon 5 Aug 2019 10:45 AM
Back from the brink? Protecting and restoring our biodiversity
Scoop and PEP invite you to help decide how we should protect and restore our biodiversity over the next 50 years using Scoop’s online engagement platform, HiveMind.
This Biodiversity HiveMind is one way for you to take part in the DOC-led public consultation on proposals for a new Biodiversity Strategy for Aotearoa New Zealand. (NZBS)
HiveMind enables mass participation in discussions that move beyond polarity towards discovery of innovative and bipartisan solutions. It uses AI technology to show you the results visually as they evolve in real-time. You can add your own statements, as well as voting on others, which means you can potentially alter the way the discussion goes. Unlike other online platforms, the HiveMind discussion is shaped by the participants, not someone behind the scenes.
To navigate this engagement and various resources follow these links:
Take part: Go to HiveMind Engagement
Biodiversity Strategy: Read Discussion Document
Understand: Perspectives on Biodiversity
What is HiveMind?: Instructions here
Connect: Sign up for HiveMind updates
DOC: Submit on DOC site or at an event
How HiveMind Works?
Vote and Suggest Statements
You can vote on other people’s statements and add your own statements in the Biodiversity HiveMind Engagement window below until 25 August 2019. Voting will continue until the HiveMind closes on 1 September 2019. Please vote on all statements before submitting your own statement to avoid double ups. You must comply with Scoop’s Terms and Conditions.
You have the option to take part anonymously or to log-in using your Facebook or Twitter account. If you are going to take part using multiple devices, please use the log-in option.
See Full Instructions including a video here.
Scoop will publish a report on the findings of this HiveMind on 16 September 2019, and will provide it to DOC so that it can inform the wider biodiversity strategy consultation efforts.
Scoop will also publish the raw, anonymised data from the Biodiversity HiveMind as an open dataset for others to use as they wish.
Get Involved in the Discussion
If you wish to publish a press release or article on Scoop that is relevant to this Biodiversity HiveMind or the Biodiversity Strategy, Scoop’s submission guidelines are available here.
Email if you have any queries, complaints or need help.
Take Part in the HiveMind Engagement Now!! (Estimated time 10 mins)
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Get email updates from Scoop HiveMind
Get email updates (including when new statements are added) and the final report from Scoop HiveMind
In addition to taking part in this HiveMind, we would encourage you to engage in DOC’s national conversation on biodiversity by attending a workshop, hui or making a submission - see details on the DOC website here.
What is HiveMind?
Watch this short instructional video on how to use HiveMind
Or read a PDF with instructions on how to use Hivemind here
Back from the brink: Biodiversity proposals and 4 responses
This article provides a brief summary of what is proposed for a new NZ Biodiversity Strategy as well as four perspectives about biodiversity issues, how they should be managed and what is contributing to our biodiversity crisis.
The Department of Conservation (DOC) is hosting a ‘national conversation on nature’ as it develops a new NZ Biodiversity Strategy. One way you can get involved is through Scoop’s HiveMind engagement platform. Click here to go back to the Top and take part. It runs 5 August - 1 September 2019.
Being able to consider issues from a range of different perspectives is an important prerequisite for any democratic society. Scoop has created the hypothetical perspectives to support this and to ensure that the Biodiversity HiveMind has ‘seed statements’ from a range of perspectives for you to respond to and build upon.
Click here to go straight to the perspectives.
Summary of proposals for a new NZ Biodiversity Strategy
The proposals set out in the Government’s discussion document Te Koiroa o te Koiora – our shared vision for living with nature were informed by a range of conversations about nature that DOC held across the country in 2018/19, including regional hui with iwi/hapu/whanau and stakeholder workshops. The proposals are based on two main premises:
1. Nature underpins our wellbeing and prosperity and is valuable for its own sake;
2. Aotearoa New Zealand’s biodiversity is in crisis.
The discussion document has proposals for a vision, a set of values and principles to guide decision-making and action, some long-term outcomes and five ‘system shifts’ - areas of initial focus to create necessary change.
The following matapopore/vision for what NZ should be like by 2070 is proposed for the Strategy:
Nature in Aotearoa is healthy, abundant, and thriving. Current and future generations connect with nature, restore it and are restored by it.
Values and Principles
The following values and principles are proposed for the Strategy:
Values for guiding how people should work togetherMahi WhaipaingaWe care about making a difference for nature in Aotearoa New ZealandNgākaunuiWe are passionate and enthusiastic about the work ahead.Mahi-tahiWe work as one, collectively towards a common purpose.WhakapapaWe recognise inter-connections and have an intergenerational view.TohungatangaWe recognise expertise and pursue new knowledge and ideas. ManaakitangaWe build trust and inclusiveness, and build mana in others around us to enhance the mana of the whole.Mana motuhakeWe respect each other and recognise sovereignty and autonomy. KaitiakitangaWe enable stewardship of our natural environment.
Principles to guide deliveryKnowledgeBiodiversity management decisions are evidence based, transparent and informed by the best available information including science and mātauranga Māori.LearningBiodiversity management approaches are adapted based on continual learning. CourageInnovative approaches are encouraged, and action is not delayed due to a lack of complete information.Indigenous biodiversityPriority should be given to conserving indigenous species. In situ managementWhere possible, biodiversity is best conserved in situ. Sustainable useConserving species, habitats and ecosystems is a priority, but does not preclude the use or activities that would impact on them, where this is ecologically sustainable and does not result in their long-term decline.ToolsA mix of regulatory and non-regulatory tools should be used to achieve the best outcome. OutcomesA range of tools and solutions are considered using an outcomes-based approach. Respect for property rightsRespect for property rights and their associated responsibilities.Internalising environmental costsWhere an activity imposes adverse effects on species, habitats or ecosystems, the costs of mitigating or remedying those impacts should be borne by those benefiting from the activity. ScaleDecision making, action, prioritisation and communication occurs at the most appropriate level; be it international, national, regional or local.ConnectionsDecision making takes into consideration spatial connections across landscapes and seascapes, and impacts through time.
The following long-term outcomes are proposed. If all of them are achieved by 2070, the vision will have been achieved too.
Tiaki – protect and restore our special indigenous biodiversityA full range of ecosystems on land and water are healthy and functioning
Indigenous species and their habitats are secure and thriving
Indigenous biodiversity is managed to be resilient to the impacts of global changeWhakahou - New Zealanders are empowered to actAll New Zealanders can connect with nature and recognise its value in supporting intergenerational wellbeing
Tangata whenua are exercising their role as kaitiakiWānanga – change our systems and behavioursNon-indigenous species are managed to avoid negative impacts on indigenous species while enhancing people’s wellbeing
New Zealand’s economic activity provides for the restoration and protection of indigenous biodiversity
New Zealand is making a significant contribution to global biodiversity management
System shifts
It is proposed to focus efforts on the following ‘system shifts’ over the next 5 years. The focus areas will be reviewed every 5 years.
Getting the system rightA well-coordinated biodiversity system that’s fit for the future – optimised to plan, enable, support and deliver action, with clear roles, responsibilities and accountabilities for those involved at national, regional and local levels.Empowering kaitiakitanga and mātauranga māoriTe Ao Māori perspectives are embedded throughout the biodiversity system, and tangata whenua are enabled to be kaitiaki at all levels of the system. Communities are empowered to take actionAll New Zealanders are empowered to be stewards of nature, conserving, managing and using it wisely, and those who are actively contributing are connected, effective, and well-supported.Connecting ecosystems from the mountain tops to the ocean depthsBiodiversity is managed in a joined-up way across boundaries in the places where we live, work and play. Ecosystems are interconnected.Innovating for the futureThe power of technology, data and science is used to transform the way we manage biodiversity. We are working to fill the many gaps in our knowledge to inform effective approaches.
More information about these proposals and the consultation
The Government’s discussion document Te Koiroa o te Koiora – our shared vision for living with nature and other supporting information for the national conversation and consultation on nature/biodiversity are available here.
Click here to take part in the Scoop’s Biodiversity HiveMind.
The 4 perspectives
Being able to consider issues from a range of different perspectives is an important prerequisite for any democratic society. Scoop has created these hypothetical perspectives to help you think about how different people might see the biodiversity issue. We have taken a number of ‘seed statements’ from the four perspectives (statements to help get the HiveMind underway) for your to respond to and build off. Click here to go to in the Biodiversity HiveMind participation page.
The four perspectives are described below.
1. Collaboration and resourcing to solve the biodiversity crisis
2. Tangata whenua are empowered as kaitiaki
3. Landowners are part of the solution not the problem
4. The biodiversity crisis is a result of the present economic system
1. Collaboration and resourcing to solve the biodiversity crisis
Nature is critical to our well-being and success. NZ’s biodiversity and ecosystems are under significant pressure. As a result many species are endangered due to a range of pressures, including land use, pollution, pests, weeds, diseases, overfishing and climate change. Most of our plants and animals are found nowhere else in the world. We - all New Zealanders - have a responsibility to care for our natural places that surround us. We are all stewards of these precious resources, these taonga.
Nature underpins our identity and wellbeing (e.g. we call ourselves kiwis). Spending time in nature is positive for our physical and mental health and wellbeing. Also our future economic success relies on our natural environment. Nature, including species and ecosystems, is important for its own sake, and has a right to exist regardless of any benefits we may get from it. Humans are custodians of nature and have a duty of care to ensure that it endures into the future.
Managing threats to our biodiversity at scale can be more effective and provide opportunities for efficiency. For example, better ways of eradicating pests such as possums and rats at scale are needed. New science and technology (e.g. improved baits, ‘gene drives’ to make possums infertile) will be required to do this well. We should not be spreading 1080 poison across our environment for any longer than we have to.
Supporters of this approach would agree with the following:
• Priority being given to conserving indigenous species by conserving ecosystems and ecological processes;
• The need to work at the local, regional, national and global levels;
• Implementing a Biodiversity Strategy will require a system with clearly defined roles, collaboration and the sharing of knowledge;
• On the ground action should be guided by local, district and regional plans and/or strategies, as well as national tools such as National Policy Statements and legislation;
• Additional resources being provided to enable better system coordination, collaborative action, more education, better monitoring, etc;
• Science is essential for achieving the vision and long-term outcomes for a NZ biodiversity strategy. We must invest in science and technology.
What could be done
Actions a supporter of this perspective might advocate to include:
• Joining a local community group which works on restoring an ecosystem or undertaking pest control;
• Becoming a member of a local/regional/national governance organisation which is committed to enhancing biodiversity;
• Developing a National Policy Statement for indigeneous biodiversity that includes objectives and policies to help guide the way regional and district councils work with landowners and communities;
• Regional biodiversity strategies developed collaboratively by councils, tangata whenua, industry, community groups and other interested stakeholders;
• Urgently find better ways than 1080 poison to eradicate pests such as possums and rats at scale;
• Making Predator Free 2050 a reality by bringing together central and local government, iwi, philanthropists, non-government organisations, businesses, science and research organisations, communities, landowners and individuals towards an overarching goal of ridding forests of stoats, rats and possums.
2. Tangata whenua are empowered as kaitiaki
The New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy should recognise the Treaty of Waitangi, the founding document of New Zealand, and the principles of partnership, protection and participation. In short, Māori needs, values, knowledge/mātauranga Māori and aspirations for kaitiakitanga should be given equal consideration.
A partnership between tangata whenua and the Crown should reflect aspirations for co-management, co-design and the management of nature. This includes tangata whenua holding key roles at all levels of the biodiversity system, including governance.
Many iwi, hapū and whānau have significant aspirations to play a greater role in managing biodiversity on public and private land. There is a need for greater capability and support in this area for iwi, hapū and whānau to be able to meet their aspirations.
There is a need to consider and remove or alter the legislative blocks that often prevent whānau or hapū from exercising kaitiakitanga. Kaitiakitanga is the obligation, arising from the kin relationship, to nurture or care for a person, place or thing. It has a spiritual aspect, encompassing not only an obligation to care for and nurture not only physical well-being but also mauri, or life force.
It is imperative to get the structures, mechanisms and processes right so that iwi, hapū and whānau can comfortably and confidently participate, improve the visibility of their contributions and initiatives, and to allow progress towards the outcomes of the strategy. Part of this will be about providing local training opportunities and long-term sustainable employment opportunities in nature restoration.
Strengthening relationships between people and nature includes moving towards creating abundance and sustainable use. We need to consider what steps we need to take in the meantime to preserve knowledge. Traditional management practices need to be a central part of the way we manage biodiversity.
Mātauranga Māori is knowledge and action that is profound, intergenerational, local and owned by iwi/hapū/whānau at a particular location. The use of mātauranga Māori is dependent on the agreement of the local mana whenua - careful consideration must be given to the sensitivities of the acquisition and use of traditional knowledge. Better systems are required to enable mātauranga Māori to inform biodiversity management, right from planning through to monitoring success.
Many iwi have environmental management plans that set out their aspirations and actions. It will be crucial to ensure that regional and national planning support these plans.
What could be done
Actions a supporter of this perspective might advocate for include:
• Agencies to work with Treaty partners to develop ways to improve the management of iwi rights and interests relating to conservation. For example DOC to work with Treaty partners in relation to public conservation land;
• Ensure Māori hold key roles in newly established system governance structures;
• Expand Māori training programmes to increase opportunities for practical conservation skills;
• Ensure there is a programme in place to facilitate graduates to move into roles at DOC and other organisations;
• Review key legislation that relates to biodiversity to ensure it recognises and provides for kaitiakitanga and mātauranga Māori;
• Support Māori to contribute to international conversations and agreements (e.g. Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services and the Convention on Biological Diversity).
3. Landowners are part of the solution not the problem
NZ has plenty of protected areas for biodiversity – more than 5 million hectares or 30% of the country. While there are pressures on biodiversity, especially on some indigenous species, we have the knowledge, institutions and people to look after our biodiversity. NZ’s nature is, by any reasonable standard, healthy and abundant and New Zealanders have a strong connection with it.
While indigenous biodiversity should be given priority in protected areas, this principle needs to be carefully thought through when applied to private land to ensure the rights of property owners are not trampled over and livelihoods are not needlessly compromised. Landowners have a right to be included in any decision-making process.
Private landowners should be compensated to protect biodiversity or ecosystem services regardless of whether such protection is voluntary or legally obliged. Healthy functioning nature is a collective good and therefore the costs of public goods should be spread across the whole population. There are a range of economic instruments which could compensate landowners such as payments for ecosystem services, an environmental consumption tax or an environmental protection fund based on the polluter-pays principle.
We must not forget that our economic success, now and in the future, relies on indigenous and non-indigeneous species. Primary production and tourism provide income and business for many regional communities. In 2016, land-based primary production (agriculture, horticulture, and forestry) earned $35.4 billion, half of the country’s total export earnings, while international tourist expenditure was worth $14.7 billion (Our land 2018, p.7). Export earnings for aquaculture and wild-capture fish products are forecast to reach $450 million and $1.4 billion respectively in 2019 (SOPI Report, Dec 2018, p.19)
While many think that biodiversity challenges are mostly rural issues, there are in fact many biodiversity problems in towns and cities. For example, only nine of the 20 largest urban areas exceed 10 percent indigeneous vegetation cover at approx. 5km from the urban core and only 10 of the 100 land environments in the urban core are classified as not threatened (Report of the Biodiversity Collaborative Group, p.34).
The discussion document talks about new governance processes designed to prevent biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation such as collaboratively developed regional biodiversity strategies. Although such governance processes might sound good, the ‘devil is in the detail’. Serious questions need to be asked:
• Will these governance processes be effective, let alone efficient?
• Won’t more levels of decision-making and the involvement of more actors only complicate an already complex area?
• Can we can assume that people at the local level have the competencies required to take far reaching decisions that might affect livelihoods and futures of landowners?
• How can ‘spill-overs’ be dealt with - biodiversity doesn’t necessarily track neatly with administrative boundaries? How will this be coordinated?
• Will the burden and costs of more administration and regulation be experienced locally, while the benefits experienced beyond the local community?
The discussion document argues for more detailed and specific planning at a regional, local and sector level. Will this result in better management or just more bureaucracy and red tape?
Huge tracts of land are in public ownership in NZ but a lot of this is not used for conservation. Some of this could be used to ensure the required diversity and size of protected areas and connections between them (e.g. by using roadside reserves).
Enabling the private sector to compete to provide biodiversity services would help ensure that biodiversity services are more effective, efficient and innovative.
What could be done
Actions a supporter of this perspective might advocate for include:
• Monitor and evaluate the proposed governance arrangements for effectiveness and efficiency;
• Work with regional and territorial Councils to ensure private property rights are taken into consideration when decisions are being made;
• Work with Councils, Government agencies, local interest groups and researchers to find compatible ways of encouraging biodiversity without compromising production and livelihoods;
• Encourage the development of technological innovations which could have positive effects for both biodiversity and landowners;
• Landowners to be responsible for helping manage biodiversity on their own land and to be fairly compensated for doing so;
• Work with other landowners in voluntary projects to see how this might improve biodiversity across geographical areas;
• Expand the conservation estate so that it includes all the major habitats and ecosystems for biodiversity to flourish. Private land should be bought at market value. More publicly owned land should be used for conservation purposes.
4. The biodiversity crisis is a result of the present economic system
We currently face an existential crisis and there is a growing awareness that our current economic, technological and social systems are at the root of these problems. To turn things around, we are going to need to transform the way we produce and consume and relate to one another. The current system has baked into it a ‘growth imperative’.
The proposed vision in the discussion document is laudable but will not achieve the kind of sustainable balance required to halt and rejuvenate biodiversity. What is needed is a radical political and economic reorganisation leading to drastically reduced resources and energy throughput. A new alternative to a sustainable future, democratically determined and constructed, is what is needed. For example, our financial and banking systems will need to be put in the hands of public authorities, working hours reduced to prevent unemployment and free up time for activities that enhance well-being, green taxes, minimum and maximum income and wealth levels, and a more progressive tax system introduced.
Often people who press for transformative change to avert species collapse and maintain life sustaining ecosystem services search for and develop alternative forms of economic production, consumption and distribution as well as more democratic forms of citizenship and less competitive ways of social relations). While they may well be involved in local, regional or even national projects to protect nature, many believe that the current economic system must ultimately be transformed to protect and restore our natural environment. We need an economy that is less competitive, less growth-orientated, and less consumption-led.
Broadly speaking, those who support a transformative perspective believe we need:
• New social practices, sustainable technologies and new ways of relating to each other and nature (e.g. as ends not means, humans as part of nature) that don’t undermine the natural environment and that help to preserve ecosystem services;
• Different ways of organising and governing: more public participation in decision-making, more decentralised decision-making and new methods of production to meet real human needs;
• To challenge dominant economic growth narratives and change how we measure how and what work is valued;
• To acknowledge and apply different forms of knowledge, competencies, forms of evaluation and thought processes not only to criticise existing frameworks but also to provide real alternatives.
What could be done
Actions a supporter of this perspective might advocate for include:
• Follow the advice from the World Economic Forum and the United Nations Environment Programme (and other major institutions) and invest in creating a circular economy;
• Engage in forms of barter and non-monetary exchange e.g., time banks;
• Move rapidly towards farming practices that promote sustainable food production e.g. the use of locally produced food, using techniques such as permaculture, biodynamics, urban agriculture, agroforestry and food forests, natural animal raising, natural pest management, significantly reduce nitrogen-based fertilizers;
• NZ’s local and central government authorities to fully implement the Sustainable Development Goals by 2050. Achievement of these goals to be monitored and reported back to Parliament.
Click here to return to the Summary of proposals for a new NZ Biodiversity Strategy
Click here to return to the beginning of The 4 Perspectives
Click here to take part in the Scoop’s Biodiversity HiveMind
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What is HiveMind?
Welcome to HiveMind - Scoop's new public engagement platform. HiveMind is an experiment including our readers in co-creating a more participatory and interactive public media conversation.
We believe online public engagement tools can help groups of people interested in an issue to find new points of commonality and novel solutions to complex societal problems. Such problems require broad-based and inclusive debate and decision making.
It's all too easy for us to remain stuck in polarised worldviews or our social media bubbles. HiveMind seeks to get beyond these echo chambers and to allow people to:
- Engage in a meaningful process
- Learn from other perspectives
- Identify common ground in disparate viewpoints
- Create potentially innovative and practical solutions to real world issues
HiveMind uses - an online tool for collecting open-ended feedback from large groups of people. Through a HiveMind exploration you can voice your opinion about a story or issue, and can also agree and disagree with what others are saying, one statement at a time. New statements go through a moderation process and then are added so that participants can vote on them. runs statistical analysis on these voting patterns in real-time. It produces opinion groups and surfaces the comments that brought each group together. It also identifies comments that found broad consensus among participants.
Read more about HiveMind here.
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