ACT Leader David Seymour has today announced at Fieldays ACT’s alternative to the Significant Natural Areas debacle the Government has overseen.
ACT would remove the requirement for councils to identify Significant Natural Areas through the National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity,” says Mr Seymour.
“In addition, we would create a $10 million fund to provide funding for local biodiversity initiatives, such as the work undertaken by the Queen Elizabeth II trust.
“Private property rights are under threat thanks to the Government’s directive to councils to identify and manage SNAs.
“Farmers, iwi and all property owners are worried that their land will be taken from them if the council rezones it.
“Protecting biodiversity is a goal shared by all New Zealanders. But SNAs undermine private property rights and the conservation efforts of the people who care most about the environment.
“Associate Environment Minister James Shaw has hit pause and un-pause on his directive to councils several times – we’re saying it’s time to hit stop and reset.
“The feeling here at Fieldays from farmers has been strong. ACT believes that the best guardians of land are the people who own it. Biodiversity and property rights go hand in hand. We should live in a world where landowners are rewarded for doing the right thing, not punished.
“Central and local government should work with, not against, communities to advance conservation across the country in an inclusive and democratic way.
“ACT would introduce a $10 million Biodiversity Fund that would provide funding for efforts to manage biodiversity on private land. Initiatives, such as pre-existing work done by the Queen Elizabeth II trust where covenants are negotiated with landowners would be supported.
“The fund would represent a significant increase in conservation funding and would mark an important step towards a New Zealand in which the natural environment and the principles of a free society are not mutually exclusive.”
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