Federated Farmers backs key themes of biodiversity strategy

Te Koiora o Te Koiora (Our Vision for Nature) aims to see nature flourish with healthy and functioning ecosystems across land, water and sea by 2070.
Te Koiora o Te Koiora (Our Vision for Nature) aims to see nature flourish with healthy and functioning ecosystems across land, water and sea by 2070. Photo credit: Newshub

A proposed new national biodiversity strategy has been welcomed by Federated Farmers, which says it backs the majority of the discussion document.

The Department of Conservation's (DOC) new biodiversity strategy sets out how it hopes to protect and grow New Zealand's native ecosystems over the next 50 years.

It replaces the current biodiversity strategy which has been in place since 2002. 

Te Koiora o Te Koiora (Our Vision for Nature) aims to see nature flourish with healthy and functioning ecosystems across land, water and sea by 2070.

By 2025, DOC hopes to halt wetland decline, have all biodiversity areas mapped, and have threats from climate change integrated into species management plans.

Federated Farmers said the theme in the strategy that speaks about enabling and supporting communities "to connect with nature in their own way" strikes the right note.

"We're on board with the direction of the five key 'system shifts' in the discussion document - coordination, empowerment of iwi and communities, delivering joined-up work across the landscape and the need for innovation and technology to transform biodiversity management," said Federated Farmers environment spokesperson Chris Allen.

"The strategy recognises all Kiwis and sectors of society need to work together to protect our native species and habitat, which is just what we've been saying about other challenges in front of us, such as water quality and climate change," he said.

He said many farmers were already active on their own properties protecting bush, birdlife, wetlands and other biodiversity.

"They have a special connection to the land, and not just to make a living," said Allen.

"Farmers are also integral to many of the hundreds of community and catchment groups putting environmental protection into action."

He said the strategy's talk of enabling and supporting communities to take action, and joining up smaller scale efforts into integrated landscape approaches, was spot on.

Federated Farmers also backed calls for prioritising, and measurable goals to be checked and reviewed at milestone years - 2025, 2030 and all the way out to 2070.

"We're on board with the direction of the five key 'system shifts' in the discussion document," said Chris Allen.
"We're on board with the direction of the five key 'system shifts' in the discussion document," said Chris Allen. Photo credit: Supplied

"Ecological timeframes extend beyond a human lifetime. It's not like changing the speed limit on a road. In most instances, longer timeframes will be needed to achieve goals - and this is a frustration we have with a range of environmental processes."

"No sooner is the ink dry on strategies and plans, and the public and environmental groups are crying 'failure'. Meanwhile, the good work continues on at farm and catchment level, but the benefits from changes can take more time than realised."

While mostly supportive of the proposal, the group had misgivings about the idea of including biodiversity management into Farm Environment Plans. 

"FEPs need to be useful and practical for farmers, not a box ticking bureaucratic exercise, or a way to impose additional expectations on landowners." 

"Encouragement through provision of advice, tools, incentives and community conservation hubs, which are also mentioned in the strategy, is much more likely to succeed."

Public consultation on the strategy's discussion document is open until 22 September.

Newshub.

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