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Green Party launches conservation in our backyard policy

Green Party launches conservation in our backyard policy

The Green Party has launched a new policy that will help protect the native plants, wildlife and landscapes New Zealanders love. Green Party environment spokesperson Eugenie Sage launched the policy in her keynote speech to the Environmental Law and Regulation Conference in Wellington.

“We have a biodiversity crisis in New Zealand. We need to ensure the native plants and wildlife that New Zealanders treasure are kept safe,” said Ms Sage.

“The RMA is not adequately protecting our native plants and wildlife and the places they live. A lack of clear national rules and direction means that councils are not taking a consistent approach.”

Many threatened plants and animals live outside our conservation estate and the protections the estate provides. In fact, 28 percent of kiwi habitat and 70 percent of threatened lizard species are found on private land. The key populations of some threatened plant species such as Bartlett’s rata and kakabeak are only found on private land.

“The Green Party’s new conservation in our backyard policy would double the amount of funding available to community groups to stand up for the environment and the wild creatures that live there,” said Ms Sage.

“This policy is about ensuring that we protect our native plants and wildlife not just on conservation land but on private land too. Treasures like the kiwi and the places they live, coastal pohutukawa, and the tawny tussock grasslands and shrublands of the Mackenzie Basin.”

The policy also includes changes to the RMA.

“We will put the protection of our treasured native species and habitats at the heart of our environmental law, the RMA,” said Ms Sage.

“We will amend the Act to strengthen its purpose and principles and make sure decisionmakers give more weight to protecting our native species like kiwi.

“We will support local councils to help them protect our native biodiversity with a new national policy statement and national environmental standards for biodiversity.”

For more information:
Position Paper: https://www.greens.org.nz/sites/default/files/conservationinourbackyard.pdf
Discussion Paper: https://www.greens.org.nz/sites/default/files/rma_reform_options_to_enhance_biodiversity_april_2014.pdf

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