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Call for enviro groups to have say on biodiversity

Kāpiti Coast District Mayor K Gurunathan is calling on Kāpiti environmental groups and conservationists to have their say on how New Zealand protects its at-risk indigenous biodiversity.

The Ministry for the Environment and Department of Conservation are seeking submissions on a proposed National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity, which will be one of the key tools in New Zealand’s response to biodiversity decline.

Indigenous plants and animals are in serious decline with around 4000 native species identified as threatened with or at risk of extinction.

Mr Gurunathan says biodiversity is key to New Zealand’s cultural, economic and social success and must be preserved and enhanced.

“Kāpiti has a strong record of biodiversity restoration and those on the ground will have significant knowledge to share and I encourage them to do so,” Mayor Gurunathan says.

“The National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity will direct how councils and landowners act to make sure indigenous biodiversity is maintained and improved so it is important that those with real ecological restoration experience are heard.”

The statement directs councils not only to protect biodiversity but to restore areas that are important to maintaining it, such as wetlands.

Other aims include the mapping and protection of Significant Natural Areas, something Kāpiti Coast District Council has been doing since 1995 and which Mayor Gurunathan says makes the district a leader in biodiversity restoration in New Zealand.

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“Through the work over a long period of time by the council, landowners, iwi and community groups here in Kāpiti we’re ahead of some of what is being proposed in the policy statement, but we need to keep pushing forward if we are to continue to make improvements.”

The proposed National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity will also require councils to work with iwi/hapu, implement regional biodiversity strategies and identify areas with significant vegetation and habitats.

Submissions on the National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity should be made by 5pm, 14 March 2020.


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