Commitment from all political parties to implementing the new Te Mana o te Taiao - Aotearoa New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy is vital to protecting our future, says Forest & Bird.
“The Strategy clearly says that New Zealand’s environment is at breaking point, with 4000 species at risk of extinction and climate change increasing the likelihood of future losses, as a result of new pests, extreme weather events, or ocean acidification,” says Forest & Bird Chief Executive Kevin Hague.
“The strategy also recognises that existing laws have failed to protect our native species and places.
“We’re heartened that Cabinet has agreed to a new strategy which recognises this and provides a ‘greenprint’ for future protection and restoration. We need nature, but nature needs us to protect it.”
Forest & Bird has been involved in the development of the strategy over the past 18 months, alongside iwi, scientists, and groups ranging from Federated Farmers to Fisheries Inshore New Zealand.
“This strategy now needs backing from parties across the political spectrum. It should transcend party politics. After the election, whoever makes up the Government will be in charge of making this strategy work,” says Mr Hague.
“Seven out of ten voters want a post-COVID recovery for people and planet. This strategy is part of making that happen and voters deserve to know that all political parties will commit to this.
“New Zealand’s wellbeing – including our economic wellbeing – depends on bold implementation of this strategy,” says Mr Hague.
“We need legislative reform which clearly demonstrates Te Mana o te Taiao is operating as a whole-of-government document.
“This must involve enacting legislation to prevent mining on conservation land, especially coal mining. Mines are currently proposed on nationally important wetlands and unless legislation is changed, the strategy’s goal of preventing further decline of freshwater wetlands by 2025 will be meaningless.
“Government also needs to provide better protection for our ocean and immediately place cameras on fishing boats; to enable us to meet the strategy’s goals of establishing marine protected areas in priority areas and zero bycatch of seabirds and marine mammals.
“As a country we need to continue freshwater improvements, and reform our primary industry so it can thrive alongside our native plants and animals.
“New Zealanders want the government to protect nature, and the Aotearoa New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy aims to do that. But we will only succeed in achieving a better future for people and planet if solid action follows these important goals,” says Mr Hague.