Submission on the Ministry for the Environment's Managing our wetlands consultation
To Environment Minister David Parker,
Since human settlement, Aotearoa has lost around 90 percent of all its wetlands – precious areas that stored carbon, were home to endangered plants, and hosted millions of migrating birds.
Last year, your Government passed crucial laws to protect our remaining few wetlands. But now you’re proposing to back down and allow industry to keep destroying these precious areas.
We ask that you instead:
- Protect fresh water: Stop the continued destruction, and encourage the restoration, of wetlands – which provide unique habitat for threatened plants, birds, and fish, improve water quality, and reduce flood risk.
- Maintain meaningful laws: Reject special ‘consenting pathways’ for industry, which would strip wetlands of all meaningful protection.
- Prevent soil carbon loss: Listen to the Climate Change Commission’s advice and keep carbon in the ground by stopping wetland destruction.
- Keep our climate safe: Do not give coal mining special access to destroy wetlands during a climate emergency.
- Include important wetlands: Improve the definition of a natural wetland – the current proposal would exclude many significant wetlands from protection through the flawed way in which ‘improved pasture’ is used.