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Conservation a good investment, says Forest & Bird

Conservation a good investment, says Forest & Bird

The Green Party's policy to invest in restoring our natural heritage was welcomed by independent conservation organisation Forest & Bird today.

The Greens' election conservation policy would better protect threatened native wildlife, and more than double the baseline funding for the Department of Conservation in the next six years.

A key part of the policy is a draft Wildlife (Threatened Species Protection) Amendment Bill, which would require DOC to write recovery plans for all threatened species.

"This recovery plan proposal is four decades overdue in New Zealand," Forest & Bird Conservation Advocate Claire Browning said.

The United States passed legislation in 1973 which means it now has recovery plans for around 80 percent of its threatened species. In contrast, New Zealand has recovery plans for fewer than three percent of our 2,788 threatened species.

Recovery plans would require DOC to decide how recovery would be paid for and what would be done to make it happen. Currently 97 percent of our threatened native species have had no practical steps taken to protect them.

"Without recovery plans, we are just sitting on our hands and watching the disappearance of the animals and plants that in the end really define New Zealand," Claire Browning said.

Because of a lack of funds, DOC has been unable to write recovery plans for most species.

"DOC does an outstanding job in sometimes very difficult circumstances, but it has never been properly resourced for this."

Funding would therefore be needed, and the Greens have proposed raising DOC's funding within six years to a minimum one percent of the national Budget - which is more than a doubling of current levels.
"The one percent budget proposal still fails to invest in the true worth of our conservation assets, which is many times that," Claire Browning said.

"Forest & Bird would also want to examine the detail of any legislation, to make sure it is fully effective, and as strong as good overseas models. But overall, this proposal to prioritise and invest in threatened species would improve the outlook for conservation."

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