Indigenous Biodiversity report released

A new report recommending improvements to biodiversity management will build on communities’ good work to protect our biodiversity, says Associate Minister for the Environment, Hon Nanaia Mahuta.

The Report of the Biodiversity Collaborative Group outlines a draft National Policy Statement (NPS) for Indigenous Biodiversity and provides complementary recommendations, to help halt the decline in biodiversity.

“Our biodiversity is a taonga, important to New Zealand’s environment, culture, society and economy. However, it is in rapid decline from pressures like land-use change, invasive species, and climate change, and we need to do more to ensure that it is protected,” said Hon Nanaia Mahuta.

The report recommends greater recognition of Te Ao Māori in decision making and makes provision for Hutia to Rito, a concept that recognizes the broader connections between the health of indigenous biodiversity, the environment and people.  It also incorporates requirements to identify, map and protect significant areas of indigenous biodiversity, including the use of standardised criteria, a suite of effects management policies, and targets to encourage restoration of biodiversity.

The report also recommends a range of supporting measures including supporting the implementation of the NPS, better coordinating biodiversity efforts, improving information, monitoring and compliance, and better aligning the biodiversity management system.

“There are some councils and communities across the country doing great work to try and improve the status of our indigenous biodiversity. This report recommends tools for councils to do this even better.”

The report comes after an 18-month stakeholder-led process that included representatives from industry groups, iwi and environmental NGOs.

“The Biodiversity Collaborative Group has built an important stakeholder consensus that will allow us to move forwards and take action on halting the decline of our indigenous biodiversity. I thank the Biodiversity Collaborative Group for its excellent work and the significant contribution it has made to biodiversity management in New Zealand.”

“The Government will now consider the report’s recommendations and I have instructed officials to begin preparing an NPS for public consultation, based on the Group’s draft NPS. This work will be undertaken in the context of the Minister for Conservation’s recently announced refresh of the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy, which will set the overarching goals and priorities for biodiversity management in New Zealand.”

“This Government is committed to improving New Zealanders’ well-being. Ensuring the protection of our indigenous biodiversity is crucial to this,” said Hon Nanaia Mahuta.

“It is great timing that the NPS work can be done in the context of the refresh of the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy announced recently. The new Biodiversity Strategy will set the overarching goals and priorities for halting the decline in indigenous species, boosting their numbers and improving the health of their habitats,” Conservation Minister, Eugenie Sage said.

Broad public involvement in the development of both a new biodiversity strategy and the NPS for Indigenous Biodiversity will be vital to their success “

A copy of the Biodiversity Collaborative Group’s report can be found at www.biodiversitynz.org