Forest & Bird says the Government has been handed a once in a lifetime chance to halt and reverse the serious decline of New Zealand’s native wildlife, with the official handover today of a draft National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity.
Forest & Bird, a member of the stakeholder group that developed the draft policy statement, says the near consensus achieved is a game-changing result, and their recommendations need to be accepted in full by the Government, for public consultation.
“New Zealand’s native wildlife has been allowed to fall into an unparalleled crisis. Eighty percent of our bird species are threatened with extinction, as are 74 percent of our freshwater fish, and 100 percent of our frog species,” Forest & Bird Chief Executive Kevin Hague says.
“This crisis is unfolding mostly on privately owned land, where much of our most threatened wildlife is now found. Regional and district plans are meant to protect these important values, but these are inconsistent and sometimes ineffective.
"In addition, the lack of national direction means that the costs to private landowners, NGOs and councils has been immense, with time and money tied up in lengthy negotiations and court processes.
“As the report states, ‘Between 1996 and 2012 human activity has caused the loss of nearly 71,000 hectares of native habitat, mostly in areas of lowlands, wetlands and coastal areas’, says Mr Hague.
“This draft Policy Statement will provide clarity to all parties on what is required under the law, as well as recommending to the Government a range of supporting and complimentary measures for helping achieve those things."
"Finally, as a nation, we will have certainty and clarity on how to protect our unique and imperiled environment, whether on private, public, or lease-hold land.”
"This report, draft Policy Statement and recommendations are a game-changer for New Zealand’s environment, and Forest & Bird congratulates and thanks everyone involved," says Mr Hague.