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Forest & Bird is urging government to continue collaborative reforms to build a better future for people and planet, with clean water, healthy landscapes, and climate change resilience.   

“We’ve known for a long time there are some big problems we need to work together to solve in New Zealand, like climate change, freshwater pollution, and biodiversity loss,” says Forest & Bird Chief Executive Kevin Hague.  

“We’ve been working collaboratively with farmers and landowners for years across Aotearoa New Zealand to move forward on solutions that look after nature, and our rural communities. It would be extremely counterproductive if that progress were derailed.”  

“Everyone wants a better future for New Zealand, with healthy and sustainable land and water use. The old ways of doing things have led to a really dire situation for our climate, our water, and our endangered species.”  

“The solutions needed have come through strongly collaborative and careful processes. Now we need to get on with implementing those solutions,” says Mr Hague.

Key environment issues in brief and spokespeople

Freshwater management  

Freshwater in lowland environments and groundwater is severely degraded in Aotearoa. This is the result of a broken system, decades of inaction from Govt., and a lack of strong regulations to protect it.  

Last year (2020) the Govt. Introduced the ‘Essential Freshwater Package’ to address Aotearoa’s freshwater quality issues. The package included several sets of regulations, all developed in collaboration with advisory groups, including the primary sector.  

Tom Kay
Forest & Bird Freshwater Advocate
022 183 2729

The National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity (NPSIB) and Significant Natural Areas (SNAs) 

The proposed NPSIB is a draft policy set by central government to guide councils on how to protect nature in their regions. Up until now, it’s been up to each council to decide how to do this. The results have been mixed at best, and often very poor – for landowners, and for nature. 

The process of finding a way forward that was both clear and had the support of the community led to a collaborative process initiated by the last National Govt., and including Forest & Bird and Federated Farmers (amongst others). That report was presented to government and is awaiting implementation. 

Despite having extensive conservation land, are most threatened places are often still in private ownership.  The approach of identifying these areas, protecting them, and offering support to landowners to assist with ongoing management – is the intention of the NPSIB and the SNA process.   

Debs Martin
Forest & Bird Regional Conservation Manager
027 684 0599  

High country legislation  

Forest & Bird recently submitted on the Crown Pastoral Land Reform Bill which redesigns the regulatory system for pastoral land and ends tenure review, the controversial process where leases have been split between conservation land and freehold interests.  

Tenure review has been bad for nature. The rarest ecosystems have been the most likely to be privatised, further fragmented, and had their land use intensified.  

Nicky Snoyink
Forest & Bird Regional Conservational Manager
021 165 9658

Resource Management Act reform 

The Resource Management Act (RMA) has largely failed to protect biodiversity and water quality, and failed to deliver efficient effective development rules for communities. The Government has begun the process of repealing and replacing the RMA. A proposed new law, The Natural and Built Environment Act (NBA), would be the main replacement for the RMA. The Government has recently released an exposure draft of the NBA. The exposure draft has been referred by Parliament to a select committee inquiry process. 

Rick Zwaan
Forest & Bird Regional Conservation Manager
021 845 587

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