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Love it, protect it - Green Party Conservation Policy Launch

Love it, protect it - Green Party Conservation Policy Launch

The Green Party today launched its conservation policy which will fund conservation properly and protect the endangered native species that New Zealanders love.

"The Green Party loves New Zealand's unique animals, plants and ecosystems and will protect them. Not because we can make a profit from them, but because they are part of what defines New Zealand," Green Party conservation spokesperson Kevin Hague said.

Mr Hague said the Green Party's policy included costing for funding conservation properly, the introduction of new legislation that gives greater power to the Minister of Conservation and the Department of Conservation (DOC) to restore our threatened species, and the continuation of the pest control programme negotiated with the National Government.

The Green Party loves New Zealand's unique animals, plants and ecosystems and will protect them. Not because we can make a profit from them, but because they are part of what defines New Zealand.
"The Wildlife (Threatened Species Protection) Amendment Bill will give the Minister of Conservation and DOC real teeth to address the threats to our native species," Mr Hague said.

"The Bill refocuses DOC to its original purpose: ensuring the protection and survival of endangered species and ecosystems. It also imposes significant penalties on those caught harming native species.

"DOC manages one-third of the country, 33 marine reserves, six marine mammal sanctuaries, and cares for the many native species that make their homes there. DOC does this on a budget that is one third of the Department of Corrections.

"This low level of funding - along with recent cuts to DOC's budget by National - is simply unsustainable and will result in the extinction of species found nowhere else in the world."

"By funding conservation properly, with one percent of the Government's budget, we create green jobs, save our endangered species, and ensure our ecosystems and our people are healthy. But the best thing is that future generations will be able to enjoy New Zealand's pristine spaces and precious native species," Mr Hague said.

"The pest control programme is already showing its effectiveness, with phase II being rolled out last week. The self-resetting traps are the future of pest control and help give our native species a chance in the wild.

"The pest control programme has shown that the Greens can work constructively outside of Government to bring about positive change.

"We will take conservation seriously. By empowering DOC with the funding, resources, and legislative framework we can help New Zealand protect our most precious places," Mr Hague said.

The Plan
Change the law - Introduce the Wildlife (Threatened Species Protection) Amendment Bill (see document) to give greater power to the Minister for Conservation and to DOC to restore our threatened species along with stiffer penalties for those caught killing native species.

The Bill will require DOC to create recovery plans endangered species and ecosystems - land and marine animals as well as threated plants - currently without them. Recovery plans are shown to provide a clear pathway to restoring populations of threatened species.

Fund conservation properly - One percent of the Government's budget will be allocated to DOC to protect our native species and ecosystems. An increase in funding, after years of cuts and chronic underfunding, is necessary so that DOC can meet its obligations under the new legislation and prevent further extinctions.

One percent of the 2011/2012 budget is $820.5 million. DOC's current budget is $391 million. This means an extra $429.5 million in new money.

We can reach this goal over a six year period, requiring an extra $79 million per annum starting in 2012/13 through to 2017/18; then annual increases of around $30-$31m per annum.

Expand the pest control programme - In 2010, the Greens launched a $4 million trial of self-resetting possum traps. Investing in the future of pest control will help give our native species a chance in the wild.

These traps are made in New Zealand and, when used with other means of pest control, are proving effective in restoring native bush and controlling pest populations.


Summary of the plan:


The Wildlife (Threatened Species Protection) Amendment Bill:


Green Party conservation page


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