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Draft National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity released on 26 November 2019

Draft National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity released on 26 November 2019

Draft National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity released on 26 November 2019

Thursday 12 December, 2019

The Draft National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity (“proposed NPS-IB”) was released for consultation with the purpose to maintain indigenous biodiversity. Under the RMA, management of indigenous biodiversity by councils has resulted in uncertainty and debate by councils and communities, and litigation that is costly and time consuming for councils, landowners, tangata whenua, and community groups. The proposed NPS-IB is intended to give consistency to councils’ interpretations and application of the RMA. This will result in more consistency in council’s monitoring and management approaches, and result in better outcomes for biodiversity.

The concept of Hutia te Rito underpins the proposed NPS-IB as a way of transitioning New Zealand’s biodiversity management system to one that acknowledges and incorporates te ao Māori, and mātauranga Māori and tikanga Māori. It requires decision makers to hold Hutia te Riti at the forefront of considerations when making decisions about biodiversity management.

The proposed NPS-IB outlines proposals that would require territorial authorities to identify and map Significant Natural Areas (“SNAs”). It also sets out measures for identifying and managing taonga species or ecosystems, and highly mobile fauna. The proposed NPS-IB provides for managing the adverse effects on indigenous biodiversity, both inside and outside SNAs, including biodiversity issues relating to developing Maori land, climate change, use of the precautionary approach, and use of biodiversity offsets and biodiversity compensation. The proposed NPS-IB also provides tools for restoration and enhancement of indigenous biodiversity with a view to reversing its decline, such as developing regional biodiversity strategies, restoration and enhancement of priority areas and setting targets for increased indigenous vegetation cover. Monitoring of indigenous biodiversity will be required by regional councils as well and the Ministry for the Environment.

The key timeframes are listed below:

  • By early-mid 2020, a review of NPS-IB will take place with the Governments final decisions on policy.
  • By mid-2020, the NPS-IB is expected to be gazetted.
  • By 2023:
    • Regional councils without regional biodiversity strategies will need to have initiated production of one within three years.
    • Territorial authorities or regional councils that have already identified SNAs will need to demonstrate how this fulfils the requirements of the NPS-IB.
  • By 2026:
    • Territorial authorities will need to have identified, mapped and notified all SNA’s.
    • Regional councils with pre-existing regional biodiversity strategies, or one under development at the commencement of the NPS-IB must have updated and completed them.
    • Regional councils without pre-existing regional biodiversity strategies to have completed them.
  • As soon as reasonably practical or by 2028, all councils are to implement the NPS-IB in full.

Councils should note that several other National Policy Statements are due to be gazetted around the same time as the NPS-IB in mid-2020.

Public consultations are open until 14 March 2020.