The Biodiversity Strategy, which was launched in March this year, is a response to a 1997 report on The State of New Zealand’s Environment which identified the decline of New Zealand’s indigenous biodiversity as the country’s most widespread environmental problem.

The Strategy established national goals to prevent the decline of biodiversity and to restore a full range of remaining natural habitats, ecosystems and native species populations.

The funding package announced last week is divided into four key areas, each containing a number of programmes:

  • measures to increase biodiversity on land and in freshwater: these will include public awareness raising, agency co-ordination, information systems and co-operation with landowners to protect biodiversity on private land
  • measures to improve the condition of biodiversity on land and in freshwater: these will include intensive management and weed and pest control programmes
  • measures to conserve and protect marine biodiversity: the New Zealand Government says it will draw up an oceans policy, create new marine reserves and develop marine biodiversity information systems, biosecurity planning and monitoring
  • measures to enhance biosecurity capability: these will include the development of a New Zealand Biosecurity Strategy and the assessment of biosecurity risks to indigenous flora and fauna

Over the next five years the NZ Government will spend an extra:

  • NZ$57 million on controlling animal pests and weeds on public conservation lands
  • NZ$37 million on increasing the funds available to protect and maintain biodiversity on private land through the Nature Heritage Fund, Nga Wehua Rahui and the QEII National Trust as well as establishing a new fund for ongoing management
  • NZ$2.35 million to increase iwi (Maori tribal group) and hapu (extended family) participation in managing biodiversity in ways that are consistent with customary knowledge (Matauranga Maori) with the knowledge remaining the property of the particular iwi or hapu
  • NZ$10 million on the Kiwi Recovery Programme – creating five kiwi sanctuaries across the country
  • NZ$11.5 million on increasing the number of marine reserves around New Zealand and providing for their management
  • NZ$9.8 million on improving the protection of the marine environment from invasive marine species
  • NZ$14.1 million on researching New Zealand’s marine biodiversity
  • NZ$2.6 million for the development of a comprehensive biosecurity strategy for New Zealand and the assessment of biosecurity risks to indigenous flora and fauna

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