Biodiversity on private land crucial to all Kiwis

  • David Benson-Pope

Wetlands, sand dunes, and habitats of native wildlife on private land are among ecosystems identified as national priorities for protection, Conservation Minister Chris Carter and Environment Minister David Benson-Pope announced today.

"While good progress is being made on the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy’s goal of halting the decline in indigenous biodiversity by 2020 a recent review identified challenges, including the protection of endangered species and ecosystems on private land," Mr Carter said.

"The statement of national priorities released today gives a national perspective on which ecosystems and habitats of native species on private land are in most need of protection.

"The government is calling on local authorities, landowners and communities to work together to protect our rare and threatened ecosystems and habitats that are of great value to us all as a country," said Mr Carter.

The four national priorities are the protection of native vegetation associated with:

  1. Land areas with only 20 per cent of their original native vegetation cover left
  2. Wetlands and sand dunes
  3. Ecosystems that have always been limited in extent, such as in geothermal areas, along coasts and on limestone formations
  4. Protection of the habitats of New Zealand’s most threatened species.

As part of the sustainable management of our environment and to encourage more conservation work on private land, the government has recently granted $2.8 million to 92 conservation projects around the country for biodiversity protection work run by private landowners and community groups.

Mr Benson-Pope said that for New Zealanders to continue benefiting from New Zealand's rich and diverse environment, on which our economic and national identity is based, we must work together to turn around the decline of some of our most precious places and species.

"Stating what our priorities are for protection on private land will assist with improving co-ordination between our central government work and the important biodiversity work being undertaken by local government, landowners and other groups.

"A cooperative approach allows for more local flexibility in how to protect indigenous biodiversity on private land," said Mr Benson-Pope.

The release of the statement marks the first phase of a broader cooperative work programme to support and encourage communities with their biodiversity work.