New National Biodiversity Strategy needed

A new national strategy will be developed to address the critical state of our indigenous biodiversity, Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage announced today at Napier’s Ahuriri Estuary.

“Aotearoa/New Zealand is a global biodiversity hotspot. We have a rich and unique indigenous biodiversity that includes plants, birds, bats, insects, lizards and fish that are found nowhere else in the world, and distinctive ecosystems such as ancient rainforests, tussock grasslands and braided rivers,” Eugenie Sage said.

“The New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy 2000 was a landmark document. It helped inspire the increasing public interest and practical support for protecting our native plants and wildlife and their habitats. It expires in 2020.

“Developing a new New Zealand biodiversity strategy over the next 16 months, in consultation with the public will help ensure we are doing all we can to protect and enhance our unique biodiversity.

“Our indigenous plants and wildlife and their habitats in serious trouble, with 4,000 native species threatened or at risk of extinction; including 81 % of our native birds. Ecosystems and habitats such as wetlands, native forests, drylands, rivers and sand dunes remain under pressure despite gains in conservation and environmental management over the last 20 years.

“I am pleased to be with Te Komiti Muriwai o Te Whanga today at the Ahuriri Estuary, a major coastal wetland on the North Island’s east coast to launch the work to prepare a new biodiversity strategy. At least 55 bird species have been recorded here, including bitterns.

“This Government recognises that nature is at the heart of our success as country  and the importance of tackling the biodiversity crisis.

“Healthy nature and biodiversity are central to human health and wellbeing and our economy. Biodiversity supports industries as diverse as farming, film production and tourism and New Zealand’s international brand.

“Our kauri forests, kiwi, kākā, katipo spider and coastal fisheries are important in Māori culture and part of our Kiwi identity and way of life.

“Public involvement will be vital in developing the new biodiversity strategy. There will be many opportunities for input, with regional hui, discussions, social media conversations, and website submissions.

“This strategy will need to recognise the value of  important introduced species for primary industries and for hunting and fishing.

“The Department of Conservation (DOC) will work closely with other government agencies, local councils and will engage with iwi and hapū to seek to address their priorities in the strategy.

“With many of our native species found nowhere else in the world we have an international responsibility to safeguard them for their own sake, and for present and future generations,” Eugenie Sage said.

Note:

All parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) must have a national Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan in place. New Zealand developed its original Biodiversity Strategy 2000 to meet with this obligation. The Biodiversity Action Plan (2016-2020) was developed to meet new global targets arising from the CBD’s Strategic Plan.

National Strategies and Action Plans are the principal statement of how New Zealand implements the CBD at the national level.