What do people think about protecting and restoring New Zealand’s biodiversity? To find out, we invited New Zealanders
to engage with each other on this topic as citizens using Scoop’s public engagement platform, HiveMind
The HiveMind report Protecting and Restoring New Zealand’s Biodiversity
, published today, analyses and summarises the findings of this engagement in which over 500 Kiwis took part.
HiveMind is designed to enable citizens to safely exchange and consider ideas and proposals about a public issue with
other citizens, with authorities, experts, organisations and with Scoop’s journalists and editors. It is designed to
highlight both areas of difference and of common ground and allows participants to shape the discussion.
It appears from the findings that despite a diverse range of participants and perspectives, there are significant areas
of common ground amongst participants on the future actions and elements that a National Biodiversity Strategy should
include. This common ground is particularly encouraging at a time when politics in New Zealand and around the world is
often so polarised that progress seems impossible.
The Biodiversity HiveMind
ran over August and September 2019 on Scoop as one way for New Zealanders to take part in the DOC
-led consultation on proposals for a new Biodiversity Strategy.
Two groups with some differing opinions
Two opinion groups emerged from consistent differences in voting patterns across multiple statements in the HiveMind.
While both groups included younger, middle-aged and older people from both urban and rural areas, the 72 people in Group
A tended to be older and from rural areas whereas the 371 people in Group B tended to be more middle-aged and from the
Areas of Difference
Some of the main divisions between the two opinions groups were about:
Whether or not biodiversity is in crisis and whether more resources are needed to adequately manage it
The relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous biodiversity, and the desirability and feasibility of
prioritising indigenous biodiversity
The management of browsing game animals such as deer that are valued for hunting and as a source of food.
Areas of Common Ground
Despite some fundamental differences of opinion about whether there even is a biodiversity crisis and about whether a
biodiversity strategy should prioritise indigenous biodiversity, there were many areas of common ground on key issues.
Below are some of the areas on which over 70% of respondents in both opinion groups were in agreement over statements:
Biodiversity is essential for our health and economy
“Our physical and mental health and prosperity depends on our natural environment” (85% agreed)
Protecting entire ecosystems
“Instead of focusing on protecting flagship species, we should focus on protecting entire ecosystems, which may
include those species.” (75% agreed)
Biodiversity in urban areas is important too
“We should innovate to become more inclusive of nature and biodiversity in our city/town designs.” (90% agreed)
Better biodiversity education
“Education standards should require educational field trips to natural spaces for all school children.” (80%
More places where biodiversity can flourish
“There are large amounts of land are in public ownership in NZ that could be used to enhance biodiversity (e.g.
roadside reserves, schools)” (85% agreed)
“More no-take marine reserves should be created, especially in the habitat of endangered animals, like Maui
dolphins and endangered seabirds” (85% agreed)
We need to change to a more sustainable economic model
“Establish a partnership between the agriculture industry and government to develop and promote farming
practices that protect and restore our biodiversity” (85% agreed)
“We need to 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” (75% agreed)
“To protect and restore biodiversity and ecosystem services we must move away from a fixation on economic growth
and towards sustainable production and consumption” (70% agreed)
Environmental taxes and regulations
“Ownership of water rights should not allow degradation of the resource. Stronger management, quality and
quantity standards are needed.” (75% agreed)
More Details About the Biodiversity Hivemind
HiveMind is a collaboration between Scoop and PEP launched in
The HiveMind participation page was at: Scoop Hivemind: Protecting and Restoring Biodiversity
and includes links to information resources to support participation and instructions for taking part in the process.
This information-rich environment includes full coverage of biodiversity published on Scoop, the formal Biodiversity
Strategy discussion document, and in-depth independent journalism by top environmental journalists on the new Scoop
platform The Dig
HiveMind is powered by Pol.is
, a new type of interactive survey technology that allows participants to consider statements about an issue, add their
own statements for others to vote on, and to see how their opinions fit with other people’s views.
Pol.is a promising new digital platforms designed to enable mass public participation and has been used by a number of
governments (e.g. Taiwan, Canada) and by major organisations (e.g. Columbia University). In Taiwan, Pol.is has been used
as a major part of the policy development process for at least 6 laws.
We believe Scoop’s Pol.is-powered HiveMind process could usefully be used here in New Zealand to help authorities better
understand issues and possible solutions from the perspective of citizens, particularly during the early stages of
The Biodiversity HiveMind closed on 22 September 2019. Participants were able to submit their own ideas and proposals
for other participants to consider until 11 September.
Almost 100 people submitted around 250 statements and 536 people voted on at least one of the 154 statements that were
moderated into the ‘discussion’. 443 people voted on enough statements for their voting patterns to be analysed.
Find Out More
For the full report with analysis and discussion please download the following PDF: http://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/1911/Biodiversity_HiveMind_Final_Report_Scoop.pdf
To access the raw datasets as anonymised open data files please contact Scoop Publishing on: email@example.com