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Biodiversity report recipe for disaster

Richard Worth
Opposition Environment Spokesman

9 March 2000

Biodiversity Report recipe for disaster

The Government's report on biodiversity on private land, released today, is a blueprint for years of costly argument and litigation, according to Opposition Environment Spokesman Richard Worth.

"This is effectively a proposal to spend large sums of money on scientific and planning studies, leading to the protection by law of a small proportion of the total area of native forest and wildlife habitats on private land. Such an approach is not going to satisfy either side of this vexed debate.

"The end result will only aggravate existing tensions. New Zealanders will be outraged to discover that thousands of patches of native bush are classified as 'insignificant' and will become available for clearance. People on neighbouring properties will find that, for spurious 'scientific' reasons, they are left with differing sets of property rights.

"The overheads on local authorities will increase substantially. The money will be wasted on planning processes and arguments, rather than practical steps like fencing off areas of bush.

"National's biodiversity policy included a commitment to securing "no net loss of New Zealand's indigenous vegetation cover".

"Our policy recognizes from the outset, without spending millions of dollars on consultants' reports, that all indigenous vegetation is of real value, and that landowners have a duty to conserve it. Public funds should be available to help landowners with this duty, but such funds should be focused on practical measures such as fencing and pest control.

"There are situations where small areas may be approved for clearance, a no-net-loss policy would require equivalent areas of the same vegetation to be re-established elsewhere," Mr Worth said.

Ends


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