Nanaia Mahuta and Eugenie Sage announce new toolkit

By Mahina Hurkmans

A new toolkit was announced today by Environment Minister Eugenie Sage and Associate Minister Nanaia Mahuta to support councils, to give nature a helping hand, to restore indigenous biodiversity and stop further decline.

Associate Minister Mahuta says, "In the 750 years since humans arrived here, more than 50 native bird species have been made extinct, three frogs, at least three lizards, one freshwater fish, four plants and an unknown number of invertebrate species. Today 4,000 of our native plants and wildlife are threatened or at risk of extinction.

"To turn this situation around the government is consulting on a proposed National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity (NPSIB) that requires councils to work closely with tangata whenua, landowners and communities to identify and look after significant indigenous biodiversity."

Minister Sage says, "Over the last decade councils, iwi/Māori, community groups and landowners have recognised some of the changes we can make to protect and restore our ecological taonga and this is inspiring.

"The draft NPSIB proposes a solution of working together to ensure our unique nature can thrive on public, private and Māori land."

This 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 RMA.

Mahuta concludes, "This will provide clarity for councils, and will go some way to stopping drawn out legal battles between councils, landowners and communities.

"Over the last decade councils, iwi/Māori, community groups and landowners have recognised some of the changes we can make to protect and restore our ecological taonga and this is inspiring.

"Clear direction at the national level can help us work together to increase our collective efforts to halt the decline and restore what has been lost."