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Protect our native wildlife

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To the Ministry for the Environment 

Kiwi don’t know if they live on public or private land. We need to protect nature wherever it lives.  Without clear national standards, our wildlife continues to be lost. Our wellbeing depends on the wellbeing of nature, and nature needs us to protect it. The National Policy for Indigenous Biodiversity is urgently needed to protect our wildlife and wild places.

I urge the Government to adopt it as soon as possible, with these comments:  

Identify and protect significant natural areas (SNAs)
We can’t protect what we don’t know about. I support a requirement for councils to identify SNAs. Landowners should be involved: their local knowledge is important, and the process can help everyone to better understand the value of local wildlife and habitats.

We need strong environmental bottom lines to make sure SNAs are not damaged by people’s activities. New development must avoid negative effects on SNAs. 

Include public conservation land
The policies that protect SNAs should apply to public land too. It isn’t necessary to map all conservation land to identify whether it is ecologically significant. It should be considered significant unless shown not to be. I support the Government’s proposed ban on any new mines on conservation land, and for mining in other SNAs to only be allowed if the habitat is protected.

Protect native species wherever they live 
Kiwi don’t know if they’re in a national park, a farm, or someone’s backyard. Many native animals can travel long distances. We want native species coming back to areas where people live. I support the policy for highly mobile fauna.   

Protect and restore nature 
It’s not enough just to protect what we have left. We need to restore and enhance nature to make up for past loss and to build climate change resilience. I support community involvement in restoration plans through Regional Biodiversity Strategies and targets to bring back natural areas in cities and rural areas. 

Climate change is central to all decisions 
Climate change is a huge challenge for people, places, and wildlife. Droughts and floods can decimate entire habitats and local species. Climate change needs to be central to environmental planning and resource consents. 

See it through and keep going! 
This National Policy for Indigenous Biodiversity is focussed on land. I ask Government to keep going and make sure marine and freshwater biodiversity is also protected.

You can read the draft National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity here.

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