The Ministry for the Environment has just released an exposure draft of the National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity. It is a key plank of the Government's response to biodiversity decline and aims to protect, maintain, and restore our indigenous biodiversity in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Important changes

Key changes in response to previous feedback include: 

  • adequately providing for activities which are important for people's economic wellbeing, such as farming, forestry and the provision of infrastructure and energy;
  • identifying indigenous biodiversity which is significant, and clearly outlining the process for managing effects on it without requiring Significant Natural Areas (SNAs) to be split into ‘high’ and ‘medium’ categories;
  • recognising tangata whenua as kaitiaki and allowing for development of Māori land in partnership with tangata whenua, including Māori landowners;
  • outlining management for geothermal areas and public land which previously only had placeholders. 

Key dates

The National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity (NPSIB) is expected to be gazetted this year. 

Other key dates include: 

  • by 2025 regional councils to initiate the production of a regional biodiversity strategy; 
  • by 2027 territorial authorities to have identified, mapped and notified Significant Natural Areas (SNAs);
  • by 2030 public notification of changes to policy statements and plans. 

The NPSIB will then be transitioned into the National Planning Framework of the new resource management system.   

Further information

The exposure draft of the NPSIB is accompanied by a draft implementation plan and a summary of biodiversity incentive pilots and factsheets. There is also a separate implementation plan developed by Māori for Māori that the Ministry for the Environment and Te Puni Kōkiri are currently initiating.

Full details can be found on the Ministry for the Environment website. 

Next steps

The Ministry for the Environment now want to test the workability of the policies before the final National Policy Statement comes into force. It has invited feedback with a closing date of 21 July 2022. 

Taituarā will work with Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) on a combined response and let you know soon: 

  • how you can be involved if you want to be, and 
  • who the key contacts will be.