Working together to protect our indigenous biodiversity

Published: Tue 26 Nov 2019 08:09 AM
Associate Minister for the Environment, Nanaia Mahuta and Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage today announced a new toolkit to support councils to give nature a helping hand to restore indigenous biodiversity and halt further decline.
“In the 750 years since humans arrived here, more than 50 native bird species have been made extinct, three frogs, at least three lizards, one freshwater fish, four plants and an unknown number of invertebrate species. Today 4,000 of our native plants and wildlife are threatened or at risk of extinction.” said Hon Nanaia Mahuta.
"We have unique natural landscapes and indigenous biodiversity. Under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) councils are required to maintain and protect indigenous biodiversity. However the RMA has not given councils clear enough direction on how to achieve this. We have seen a serious decline in our native plants, animals and habitats in parts of the country and we need to do more to address that situation.
“To turn this situation around the government is consulting on a proposed National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity (NPSIB) that requires councils to work closely with tangata whenua, landowners and communities to identify and look after significant indigenous biodiversity.”
The proposed NPSIB requires councils to identify areas where there is significant vegetation and habitats of indigenous fauna, and to manage their protection through plans and consent processes under the RMA.
“This will provide clarity for councils, and will go some way to stopping drawn out legal battles between councils, landowners and communities,” said Nanaia Mahuta.
Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage noted the relationship of the proposed NPSIB with the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy.
“The proposed NPSIB is one of the key tools for achieving the goals and vision of a new New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy that is being developed.
“Nature is at the heart of our success, livelihood and wellbeing as New Zealanders. It is valuable for its own sake and provides us with so many benefits from clean water, pollination, flood protection, food production, and the landscapes that are the basis for our tourism industry. It supports our wellbeing when we can walk through native forests, swim in rivers or enjoy green spaces in our cities and towns.
“Over the last decade councils, iwi/Māori, community groups and landowners have recognised some of the changes we can make to protect and restore our ecological taonga and this is inspiring.”
“Clear direction at the national level can help us work together to increase our collective efforts to halt the decline and restore what has been lost,” Nanaia Mahuta said.
“The draft NPSIB proposes a solution of working together to ensure our unique nature can thrive on public, private and Māori land.”

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