There is nothing transformational in the budget, when it comes to protecting New Zealanders’ lives, lifestyles, and livelihoods from climate change and biodiversity loss, Forest & Bird says in response to today's Budget.
“Keeping New Zealanders safe is clearly a ‘bread and butter’ issue, yet the government’s lack of investment in nature-based solutions is putting us all at risk,” says Forest & Bird’s Chief Executive, Nicola Toki.
On the same day that the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has announced that global temperatures are likely to surge to record levels in the next five years, this government’s budget is underwhelming when it comes to investing in tackling climate change and turning around biodiversity loss.
“What we looked for but have not found, is meaningful investment in nature-based solutions to climate impacts, and our biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, agriculture, has not yet been priced more than 30 years after New Zealand promised the world it would cut emissions," says Ms Toki.
“Pulling the pin on having people with their boots on the ground making a genuine difference is a disaster, at a time when all political parties should commit to increasing spending on forests, wetlands, and conservation areas to limit the impact of extreme weather on New Zealanders' lives and protect the wildlife we all love,” Ms Toki says.
"Boosting protection of nature will bring back wildlife while also protecting farms, towns, and infrastructure from the impacts of extreme weather.
"Things as simple as getting insurance may be affected in the future if we don't boost investment in protecting river catchments, restoring forests and wetlands, and creating room for rivers to flow naturally.
“Yesterday Auckland Council announced a $1B nature-based approach to cyclone recovery and resilience. Central government needs to step up and match this approach.
“The Government’s $6 billion infrastructure-focussed National Resilience Plan needs to prioritise nature-based solutions to climate change impacts like restoring forests, doubling wetlands, protecting coastal sand dunes and creating room for rivers.”
Forest & Bird released a list of five key government actions that should be in next year's budget no matter who forms the Government after the election. The five big nature-based solutions that would make a difference to climate resilience in Aotearoa are:
- Doubling New Zealand's natural wetlands.
- Controlling goats, pigs, deer, and possums across all public land.
- Accelerating efforts to restore native forest on erodible hill country.
- Putting a price on agriculture's greenhouse gas emissions.
Funding a wider programme of nature-based solutions to climate impacts including coastal restoration to accompany the Government's proposed legislation on managed retreat.