Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) is looking forward to working constructively with the Government and communities on the proposed National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity (NPSIB) and welcomes the extended consultation period which runs through to 14 March 2020.
Associate Minister for the Environment, Nanaia Mahuta and Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage today announced a new toolkit to support councils to give nature a helping hand to restore indigenous biodiversity and halt further decline.
“To turn this situation around the government is consulting on a proposed NPSIB that requires councils to work closely with tangata whenua, landowners and communities to identify and look after significant indigenous biodiversity,” says Nanaia Mahuta.
The proposed NPSIB requires councils to identify areas where there is significant vegetation and habitats of indigenous fauna, and to manage their protection through plans and consent processes under the Resource Management Act (RMA). Mahuta says this will provide clarity for councils, and will go some way to stopping drawn out legal battles between councils, landowners and communities.
“With sheep and beef farms being home to 2.8 million hectares of native vegetation, which includes 1.4 million hectares of native forest – the largest area of indigenous biodiversity outside of the Department of Conservation estate – indigenous biodiversity is hugely important for our sector,” says B+LNZ’s chief executive Sam McIvor.
“These tracts of native vegetation on sheep and beef farms are a model of how indigenous biodiversity can be integrated into productive and profitable farming systems.”
B+LNZ is in the process of reviewing the NPSIB in more detail, but says it’s taking a principled approach to assessing the proposed policy statement.
“Enhancing biodiversity is just one part of our farmers’ environmental stewardship commitment. The sector’s environmental strategy also covers freshwater, climate change, and soil health and productivity and it’s critical these work cohesively with any proposed biodiversity policies to deliver improved environmental outcomes as well as thriving rural communities.
“Ensuring there’s clarity for both landowners and Councils on how to manage and protect this biodiversity will be beneficial for everyone. It’s important to have an approach that encourages farmers and communities to work together, supports and rewards those farmers who have done the right thing, and provides incentives to restore indigenous biodiversity where it has been lost.
“Farmers are already doing amazing things through grassroots initiatives like catchment communities, as well as more in-depth work with land and farm environment plans, and this approach needs to be built on.”
Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage noted the relationship of the proposed NPSIB with the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy.
“The proposed NPSIB is one of the key tools for achieving the goals and vision of a new New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy that is being developed,” she says.
Farmers can visit the Ministry for the Environment’s website www.mfe.govt.nz for more information and B+LNZ will be providing advice and engaging with farmers about the proposed NPSIB.