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Turning The Tide On Biodiversity Decline

4 December 2003
Turning The Tide On Biodiversity Decline: Early Results

The third annual report of the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy was released today.

Launched in 2000, the strategy is a 20-year vision for protecting native species in New Zealand. Its implementation received funding of $187million over the first five years. Among its aims are the halting of the decline in New Zealand’s native species biodiversity, and to safeguard valuable introduced species biodiversity.

The third annual report was prepared by the Department of Conservation, Ministry for the Environment, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and Ministry of Fisheries for the Ministers of Conservation, Environment, Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries. DOC is the lead agency. This is the first annual report on the strategy to provide early indications on whether the Government’s strategy objectives are being met.

“The report says that most projects are on track,”Conservation Minister Chris Carter said today. “That said, many challenges remain, in particular, in turning the tide on ongoing decline in our native species.”

The strategy had funded to date important programmes such as the eradication of rats from Campbell Island, a World Heritage Site, as well as landmark research on the marine environment and on biosecurity, Mr Carter said.


- The New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy was launched in February 2000. It addresses New Zealand’s responsibilities under the Convention on Biological Diversity, which it ratified in 1993.

- It is a 20 year programme with $187million funding over the first five years.

- It seeks to halt the decline in New Zealand’s indigenous biodiversity. Of note are:
o The loss of around 80% of our native forest cover, and 90% of wetlands
o Coastal dunes now exist only as tiny remnants
o All North Island rivers and rivers on the eastern side of the South Island have modified catchments.
o More than 500 New Zealand plant and animal species are categorised as threatened (marine species not included) by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature

- The strategy seeks to protect New Zealand’s valuable introduced species by increasing biosecurity measures.

- The Biosecurity Strategy, launched in August 2003, is part of the Biodiversity Strategy.

- The Biodviersity Strategy is divided into 27 programmes. Each has been assigned a lead government agency, with the Department of Conservation having overall responsibility. The other agencies are the Ministry of Fisheries, Ministry for the Environment, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Copies of the third annual report can be found in PDF form at www.biodiversity.govt.nz, or call the Department of Conservation on (04)471-3021 for a hard copy.

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