Calls for more support to protect indigenous biodiversity

  • Published Date 27 Feb 2020

Greater Wellington Regional Council today agreed to adopt a submission on the Government’s proposed National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity, which outlines the need for more support and resources from Government.

Greater Wellington Environment Committee Chair Penny Gaylor says this National Policy Statement (NPS) is the most significant move to protect our indigenous biodiversity since the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA).

“The NPS has been in the pipeline for a long time, and as an environmental protection agency, we fully support stronger direction on the protection of indigenous biodiversity.

“However, a range of actions will need to be implemented by local authorities by 2028 which will create significant resourcing challenges for us as a regional council and could come back to communities through their rates,” Cr Gaylor says.

For Greater Wellington, these actions will include working with territorial authorities and tangata whenua to identify the locations of taonga species and ecosystems, providing further incentives to landowners to restore and enhance indigenous biodiversity, and making changes to our regional policy statement.

“Our submission emphasises our support for the NPS and commitment to maintaining indigenous biodiversity, however, we believe the direction of the NPS could be strengthened to ensure it achieves its objectives.

“We have outlined a range of points in the submission which include the suggestion that we need guidance to accompany the NPS and direct support to implement it.

“Greater Wellington supports the intention of an integrated approach which incorporates tangata whenua values as outlined in the NPS, but we don’t think it provides enough real world direction to councils or facilitates a genuine leadership role for mana whenua,” Cr Gaylor says.

The maintenance of indigenous biodiversity, alongside freshwater, is one of Greater Wellington’s top priorities with over $40 million invested into initiatives that support biodiversity each year.

“This work includes our Key Native Ecosystem programme which works across both public and private land to protect and restore high value sites for biodiversity across over 48,000 hectares of our region.

“Supporting biodiversity is an essential role that Greater Wellington plays and the NPS will help towards ensuring the protection of our indigenous biodiversity, and while communities and private landowners have made great strides in this direction, effective implementation of the NPS will simply not be possible without further support from Government,” Cr Gaylor says.

Government will receive the submission, which will be accompanied by a letter to the Associate Minister for the Environment, by March 13.

Updated November 12, 2020 at 12:28 AM

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