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ORC greenlights Biodiversity Strategy

15 June 2018

The Otago Regional Council has adopted a new Biodiversity Strategy. The Strategy is ‘Our Living Treasure/Nga Taoka’ and contains community and stakeholder derived visions and outcomes.

The document was released much to the delight of Policy Committee Chairperson Cr. Gretchen Robertson, who said:

“It’s impossible to live, work or visit Otago without feeling a connection with nature. What we have is very special and worth preserving, and this connection was reflected in the community’s willingness to get involved. There are over 70 community groups or organisations involved in biodiversity work in Otago, so developing a strategy to identify how ORC can add value to this great work was key. We are very excited to be answering the community call for more support”.

With online consultation now complete on the draft biodiversity strategy, the policy committee considered the feedback received, agreed upon consequential changes and determined to recommend the strategy be approved by Council.

The strategy draws from the 2017 report from Wildlands Consultants ‘Strategic Analysis of Options to Improve Management of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for Otago Region”. A regional biodiversity forum was held in October 2017 as well as meetings with key stakeholders - including territorial authorities, iwi and the Department of Conservation - online feedback and submissions received as part of a tandem consultation with the Council’s Long-Term Plan.

Tanya Winter, Director Policy, Planning and Resource Management said:

“As reflected in its title ‘Our Living Treasure’, this strategy is intended as a living document. It includes several actions for the Council which can be expanded on and added to, as the strategy is implemented.”

Key components of the biodiversity strategy include: holding biodiversity forums, a contestable fund for local projects, employing a biodiversity coordinator, establishment of a regional liaison group, developing an on-line portal for local groups, undertaking research, developing a spatial plan and reviewing the Regional Plan Pests.

Tanya Winter, Director Policy, Planning and Resource Management said:

“This strategy would not have been possible without realising the potential of working partnerships with other organisations and our very active community. It’s about collaboration and recognising that ORC are in a unique position to provide regionwide coordination”.

ends

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