At the first of its October meetings the BCG had another session with local authorities looking at the sector’s proposals for effective biodiversity management, focussing on the Regional Council thinkpiece: Addressing New Zealand’s Biodiversity Challenge. The meeting then focused on methods for incentivising biodiversity protection and restoration including the role of voluntary protection mechanisms like QEII covenants and Ngā Whenua Rāhui and different economic incentive tools. It began looking at where recommendations on each might sit in the Group’s work. The Group also heard from the Ministry for the Environment on recurrent themes emerging from environmental jurisprudence which could be addressed through national direction.
Lake Okareka (credit: Raewyn Peart)
This month the BCG heard a number of inspiring presentations on landscape scale, collaborative interventions like ‘Cape to City’ resulting in biodiversity gains. It also heard from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment on her recent report on Aotearoa’s birds: Taonga of an Island Nation. Off the back of those presentations the Group discussed what can be learnt from those projects and recommendations it could make to help their roll-out across the country.
New Zealand Dotterel, Northland (credit: Raewyn Peart)
This month the BCG learnt from a senior lecturer from the University of Auckland about Mātauranga Māori and similarities and differences in approach with western science. It explored ways to incorporate Mātauranga Māori knowledge and methods into its recommendations. The Group also heard from Greater Wellington Regional Council about its approach to urban ecological restoration and mobilising communities in an effective way. Continuing its analysis of existing policy to ensure policy coherence, it heard from the Department of Conservation on the Threatened Species Strategy. The rest of the meeting was spent working on allocating concepts under the national policy direction and complementary measure categories and developing objectives for each.
Omataora Kiwi Project (credit: Sabine Bernert)
In June the BCG focused in on biodiversity issues, experiences and opportunities of the electricity generator infrastructure and operations with a presentation from Meridian, and primary sector presentations from Federated Farmers of New Zealand Inc and the Ministry for Primary Industries. It also continued investigating monitoring and reporting looking at Ministry for the Environment statistics on land and coastal biodiversity and unpicking data challenges with a professor from Waikato University. The Group also kicked off the drafting process setting out potential topic headings and definitions.
Sandbar, Blenheim (credit: Raewyn Peart)
This month the BCG focused on different biodiversity classification tools and the importance of efficient and effective monitoring and reporting. It heard from the Department of Conservation on national monitoring approaches, from Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research on national data sets, and members of Auckland and Marlborough District Council on regional level monitoring and prioritising of interventions. It also began investigating the concept of natural capital and other methods to ensure the environment and biodiversity is properly valued in decision-making. Following this meeting, the group met with the Minister for the Environment over dinner, to outline the group’s progress to date and hear the Minister’s views on priorities for biodiversity management.
Pohutukawa Flower (credit: Raewyn Peart)
In April the BCG continued analysing biodiversity overlap with different sectors, focusing on mining with advice from Straterra and the freshwater environment with advice from freshwater ecologists from Catalyst Group and the Ministry for the Environment. It also began to take a hard look at overlaps and/or gaps with different national direction, including the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management and the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement, and discussed the importance of policy coherence. It received an overview of key changes proposed in the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill.
Tiritiri Matangi Island, Hauraki Gulf (credit: Raewyn Peart
The BCG process formally started this month and will run until September 2018. The project plan was signed off by the group and a deed was signed between the BCG Trustees and the Ministry for the Environment. The BCG began to delve into what makes Aotearoa’s biodiversity unique and its current state, pressures and trends, beginning with an outline from the Ministry for the Environment. It heard from The Forest Owners Association on overlap of biodiversity and plantation forestry. The BCG also looked at the role of local authorities, key elements of the policy making process, and lessons learnt from previous biodiversity national policy initiatives.
Pinus radiata and indigenous vegetation (credit: Phil Taylor)
The BCG met for the first time as a full group this month. To begin its work on recommendations for a National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity, and complementary measures for supporting Aotearoa’s biodiversity to thrive, it discussed the key matters underpinning the country’s biodiversity policy and developed a project plan
New Zealand fern (credit: Raewyn Peart)