Biodiversity policy statement must be worth more than the paper it’s written on

The Government must do a better job of creating a National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity than it did with its National Policy Statement (NPS) on Freshwater, the Green Party said today.

The Minister for the Environment Nick Smith this afternoon announced that the Government is establishing a stakeholder group to design a National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity.

“The Government must do a better job on this NPS than it has on the freshwater version, which allows rivers to stay dirty and polluters to keep polluting,” said Green Party environment spokesperson Eugenie Sage.

“The biodiversity policy statement needs to be worth more than the paper it’s written on and contain some real substance.

“This announcement is another example of the Government making a headline statement at the same time as it trashes environmental protection measures in its Resource Management Act (RMA) reforms. Once again, National is all flash but no substance.

“On the one hand, National is proposing a NPS on biodiversity while at the same time it is gutting the RMA with the widely-criticised Resource Legislation Amendment Bill currently before Select Committee.

“The Resource Legislation Amendment Bill significantly increases ministerial power at expense of public participation by reducing people’s ability to have their say on resource consent applications and plans that affect the wild places they care about.

“The Bill strengthens private property rights and will have a chilling effect on councils seeking to have plan rules to protect wetlands, rivers, the coast, scrublands, tussock lands, and other indigenous habitats from damaging developments. The Government should bin the Bill.

“Our indigenous plants and wildlife would also be better protected by the Government reinstating DOC’s ability to advocate for nature against the effects of big developments,” says Ms Sage.

 

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