New Zealand faces a stark choice between a “business as usual” march to extinction of 4000 native species or a new Biodiversity Strategy that puts nature at the heart of everything we do.
The Te Koiroa o te Koiora Biodiversity Strategy discussion document released today for public consultation is the foundation for a bold new plan to reverse the decline of our native species and habitats. It identifies the central role of nature in Aotearoa’s economy, wellbeing and identity.
“The discussion document recognises that as a country we rely on our natural environment but we can’t keep doing things the same way and expect nature to survive and thrive,” says Forest & Bird Chief Executive Kevin Hague.
“We need to put nature at the centre of our economy. The whole of government, businesses, primary industries and communities will need to work together to restore biodiversity.”
“If the whole country adopts a bold plan to overhaul outdated laws, fix poor performing institutions and commit the resources to make it happen, it will be a game changer for our 4000 species at risk of extinction,” Mr Hague says.
The strategy discussion document recognises we need to transform the way we use our natural resources. But it lacks specifics about the structural, legislative and economic reforms necessary to drive this change, and is disappointingly weak in setting marine goals.
Mr Hague welcomed the recognition of nature’s crucial role in helping shield us from the impacts of climate change and the importance of removing barriers to tangata whenua acting as kaitiaki or guardians of nature.
Forest & Bird supports the strategy’s vision of nature in Aotearoa being healthy, abundant and thriving, with progress measured with five and 10 year goals. Priority actions include establishing an interim governance structure to oversee the strategy’s implementation.
“At this crucial discussion phase, it is important we get it right. Forest & Bird wants to work with central and local government, iwi and the private sector to ensure the strategy is implemented,” Mr Hague says.
“It will take the commitment of all levels of government and of all New Zealanders to ensure the latest Biodiversity Strategy does not become another missed opportunity.
"New Zealand is recognised internationally as a biodiversity hotspot and the world is looking to us to turn around the crisis facing our species and habitats."