Scrapping Significant Natural Areas shows significant neglect

The Government adding Significant Natural Areas (SNAs) to its already roaring environmental policy bonfire is an assault on the future of wildlife that makes Aotearoa unique. 

“Significant Natural Areas (SNA) represent some of the most crucial pockets of our native habitat and act as a sanctuary for our most rare and threatened indigenous plants and species. Suspending the identification of SNAs and jeopardising existing ones condemns our flora and fauna to a future of continued decline and degradation,” says Green Party Environment spokesperson Lan Pham. 

“Protecting areas of significant habitats of indigenous biodiversity has long been required under the RMA, but until recently it was not clear on how Councils should identify these areas.

“The purpose of the National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity (NPSIB)  was to provide clarity on how Significant Natural Areas should be identified. It empowered landowners and local communities to protect our precious natural taonga. 

“There was a significant amount of work undertaken to ensure that NPSIB reflected tangata whenua perspectives and did not undermine Whenua Māori landowners’ rangatiratanga.

“The Government is intentionally whipping up fear of SNAs for its own political gain. 

“This short-sighted thinking from the Government will be of detriment to future generations by depriving them of the opportunity to enjoy this country’s natural world as we and those who have come before us have.

“This decision ceases progress on a key part of decades of work that gave councils and communities a framework and foundation to support native wildlife to regenerate and flourish. This slash-and-burn approach to environmental regulation will fuel the decline of our natural estate. 

“In Aotearoa, we are extremely privileged to have a wide variety of natural taonga found nowhere else on earth. We cannot afford to let complacency see us lose the essence of what makes our natural environment unique to the rest of the world. 

“Sixty-three per cent of native ecosystems in Aotearoa are under threat, and a third of our native species are either threatened or at risk of extinction. How can the Government possibly think that now is the right time to wind back protections? 

“We need to be supporting conservation and empowering our communities to care for the wildlife that makes living in Aotearoa so special. A deterioration of our indigenous biodiversity would equate to a deterioration of our very identity. 

“Aotearoa cannot thrive without doing what is needed to ensure nature can thrive too. As it has always done, the Green Party will fight for nature and a future where wildlife thrives” says Lan Pham. 

 

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