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Biodiversity HiveMind Progress Report

Scoop and PEP are pleased to publish this progress report on our Biodiversity HiveMind before it closes on 22 September 2019. The Biodiversity HiveMind is one way of taking part in the DOC-led public consultation on proposals for a new New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy. Scoop will publish a detailed report on the findings of the Biodiversity HiveMind in late October.

HiveMind is Scoop’s public engagement platform. It uses an advanced survey tool called Pol.is to enable members of the public to exchange and consider each other’s ideas and proposals about a public issue in a safe, coherent and productive way. By analysing voting patterns, Pol.is groups participants with similar opinions. This makes it easy to see both areas of difference between opinion groups and areas of common ground.

This progress report provides some provisional findings about:

1. Levels of participation
2. The make-up of opinion groups
3. The differences between opinion groups
4. The common ground across opinion groups.

A link to a report providing multiple views on the data for the Biodiversity HiveMind, including levels of support for all the statements that were moderated into the ‘discussion’, is provided in Section 5.

Note, these findings are provisional and will change as more votes are cast. Voting continues until 22 September. Click here to take part in the Biodiversity HiveMind.

1. Levels of Participation

We are pleased to report strong levels of interest and participation since the Biodiversity HiveMind started on 5 August. Almost 100 people submitted around 250 statements and over 480 people have voted on at least some of the 154 statements that were moderated into the ‘discussion’. Over 400 people have voted on enough statements for their voting patterns to be analysed.

2. Opinion Group Profiles

To date, 2 opinion groups have emerged. Group A is made up of 314 people and Group B has 87 people. Both groups include people who are younger (under 30), middle-aged (30-55) and older (over 55). Both include people who live in cities, towns and rural areas. However, people in Group A tend to be middle-aged and from the city whereas people in Group B tend to be older and from rural areas and towns.

3. Differences between Opinion Groups

In terms of opinion, some of the main differences between people in Group A and Group B are set out below. (Note that rounding errors may mean that percentages do not add to 100 in the tables below.)

3.1 Disagreement about the nature of biodiversity, and the desirability and feasibility of protecting and/or restoring indigenous biodiversity

ID#StatementGroup AGroup B
22The Biodiversity Strategy needs to prioritise conserving our indigenous speciesAgree: 90%

Disagree:1%

Pass: 7%

Agree: 41%

Disagree: 41%

Pass: 17%

61The ecosystem that existed prior to 200 years ago is gone forever. All ecosystems, indigenous or not must be encouraged.Agree: 21%

Disagree: 57%

Pass: 21%

Agree: 73%

Disagree: 9%

Pass: 17%

96Biodiversity includes all life forms. In nature there are no such things as Pests. There is no such thing as being cruel to be kind.Agree: 9%

Disagree: 75%

Pass: 14%

Agree: 44%

Disagree: 40%

Pass: 14%

128Nature can manage itself. Humans are the cause of all perceived problems. Management is unnecessary. Leave wild places wild.Agree: 6%

Disagree: 85%

Pass: 7%

Agree: 36%

Disagree: 44%

Pass: 19%


3.2 Different views about whether biodiversity is in crisis and whether more resources are needed to adequately manage it

ID#StatementGroup AGroup B
17Aotearoa New Zealand’s biodiversity is in crisisAgree: 92%

Disagree: 2%

Pass: 7%

Agree: 44%

Disagree: 39%

Pass: 16%

26More money and resources must be spent to protect and restore biodiversity and ecosystem servicesAgree: 92%

Disagree:1%

Pass: 5%

Agree: 53%

Disagree: 26%

Pass: 20%


3.3 Disagreement about the management of browsing game animals such as deer that are valued for hunting and as a source of food

ID#StatementGroup AGroup B
79Please stop poisoning our lovely forests from the sky with deadly poison. Mammals and rural hunters are part of our diversity.Agree: 10%

Disagree: 80%

Pass: 8%

Agree: 61%

Disagree: 23%

Pass: 15%

116Deer/pig/trout are excellent food source, we can never get rid of them so control and use as suchAgree: 19%

Disagree: 57%

Pass: 23%

Agree: 63%

Disagree: 20%

Pass: 15%

214Stick to trapping rather than poison in areas people can reach by foot/quad. Reduce non-target deaths by contamination of their food chain.Agree: 20%

Disagree: 47%

Pass: 32%

Agree: 86%

Disagree: 0%

Pass: 13%

242Native forest soil and ground plants must be protected from browsing mammals to maintain healthy forests, water quality and reduce erosion.Agree: 94%

Disagree: 2%

Pass: 2%

Agree: 6%

Disagree: 75%

Pass: 18%


3.4 Disagreement about the role of, and support for, Māori

ID#StatementGroup AGroup B
37Māori must hold key roles in biodiversity governance structuresAgree: 67%

Disagree: 12%

Pass: 20%

Agree: 21%

Disagree: 57%

Pass: 21%

38There is a need to consider and remove or alter any legislative blocks that prevent whānau or hapū from exercising kaitiakitanga/stewardshipAgree: 52%

Disagree: 13%

Pass: 34%

Agree: 21%

Disagree: 50%

Pass: 27%

39There must be a programme in place to help Māori graduates move into roles at the Department of Conservation and other organisationsAgree: 60%

Disagree: 16%

Pass: 23%

Agree: 17%

Disagree: 57%

Pass: 24%


3.5 Differing levels of trust in government

ID#StatementGroup AGroup B
64I don't believe any level of Govt have moral ground for deciding this, as they have all allowed this to happen in the first placeAgree: 8%

Disagree: 73%

Pass: 18%

Agree: 53%

Disagree: 26%

Pass: 19%

91Decisions on funding for pest control are made by the same people and successful innovations developed by outsiders are dismissedAgree: 23%

Disagree: 46%

Pass: 39%

Agree: 57%

Disagree: 10%

Pass: 31%


3.6 Disagreement about the rights of property owners

ID#StatementGroup AGroup B
40While indigenous biodiversity should be given priority in protected areas, the rights and incomes of property owners must not be compromised on private landAgree: 10%

Disagree: 75%

Pass: 13%

Agree: 54%

Disagree: 28%

Pass: 17%


4. Areas of Common Ground

Despite the differences of opinion detailed in section 3 above, there are many areas of common ground. To give you a sense of some of these, at least 75% of the people in Group A and at least 75% of the people in Group B are currently agreeing with the following statements, which have all received 50 votes or more.

4.1 Biodiversity is essential for our health and economy

ID#StatementGroup AGroup B
23Our physical and mental health and prosperity depends on our natural environmentAgree: 96%

Disagree: 1%

Pass: 2%

Agree: 87%

Disagree: 4%

Pass: 8%


4.2 We need to care for the foundations of the natural world

ID#StatementGroup AGroup B
290We need to care for the foundations of the natural world (e.g. microbes, worms, beetles) and the insects, algae, lichens and other life at the bottom of the food chain, in addition to the big animals.Agree: 100%

Disagree:0%

Pass: 0%

Agree: 100%

Disagree: 0%

Pass: 0%


4.3 Biodiversity in urban areas is important too

ID#StatementGroup AGroup B
42Biodiversity is not just a rural issue, there are many biodiversity problems in towns and citiesAgree: 94%

Disagree: 1%

Pass: 4%

Agree: 85%

Disagree: 8%

Pass: 6%

81We should innovate to become more inclusive of nature and biodiversity in our city/town designs.Agree: 99%

Disagree: 0%

Pass: 1%

Agree: 91%

Disagree: 2%

Pass: 5%


4.4 Better biodiversity education

ID#StatementGroup AGroup B
142Education standards should require educational field trips to natural spaces for all school children.Agree: 86%

Disagree: 1%

Pass: 11%

Agree: 81%

Disagree: 8%

Pass: 10%


4.5 More places where biodiversity can flourish

ID#StatementGroup AGroup B
45There are large amounts of land are in public ownership in NZ that could be used to enhance biodiversity (e.g. roadside reserves, schools)Agree: 94%

Disagree: 1%

Pass: 3%

Agree: 88%

Disagree: 3%

Pass: 7%

141More no-take marine reserves should be created, especially in the habitat of endangered animals, like Maui dolphins and endangered seabirdsAgree: 93%

Disagree: 0%

Pass: 6%

Agree: 88%

Disagree: 4%

Pass: 7%

164Get locals to help identify and set up as many 'mainland sanctuaries' as possible.Agree: 83%

Disagree: 2%

Pass: 14%

Agree: 75%

Disagree: 15%

Pass: 9%


4.6 We need to change to a more sustainable economic model

ID#StatementGroup AGroup B
53To protect and restore biodiversity and ecosystem services we must move away from a fixation on economic growth and towards sustainable production and consumptionAgree: 92%

Disagree: 1%

Pass: 5%

Agree: 77%

Disagree: 10%

Pass: 12%

243I no longer accept that it is economy versus ecology. A healthy biodiverse environment is essential for farming sustainability.Agree: 92%

Disagree: 2%

Pass: 4%

Agree: 93%

Disagree: 0%

Pass: 6%

50We need to move rapidly towards farming practices that promote sustainable food production e.g. the use of locally produced food, using techniques such as permaculture, biodynamics, urban agricultureAgree: 86%

Disagree: 3%

Pass: 10%

Agree: 76%

Disagree: 11%

Pass: 11%

204Establish a partnership between the agriculture industry and government to develop and promote farming practices that protect and restore our biodiversityAgree: 91%

Disagree: 5%

Pass: 2%

Agree: 91%

Disagree: 4%

Pass: 4%


4.7 Environmental taxes and regulations

ID#StatementGroup AGroup B
226When profit is made from degrading our forest, oceans, waterways, land and air it should be taxed to fund restoration and repairAgree: 94%

Disagree: 0%

Pass: 5%

Agree: 88%

Disagree: 5%

Pass: 5%

123Ownership of water rights should not allow degradation of the resource. Stronger management, quality and quantity standards are needed.Agree: 95%

Disagree: 0%

Pass: 3%

Agree: 79%

Disagree: 10%

Pass: 10%


5. Closing

The Biodiversity HiveMind is in its final stages now and will close at 23:59 on 22 September 2019.

Lots of new statements were submitted just before the deadline of 11 September. Many of these appear to be well supported but have not yet received enough votes to be part of the analysis.

If you have not already voted on all the statements, we would encourage you to click here and take part. In addition to being able to agree, disagree or pass on statements about biodiversity and its management, there are links to a range of resources to inform your participation.

Scoop will publish a detailed report on the findings of the Biodiversity HiveMind in late October.

In the meantime, please click here for more information about the Biodiversity HiveMind. The information updates as more votes are cast and include levels of support for all the statements that were moderated into the ‘discussion’.


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