Local government has been involved in the Biodiversity Collaborative Group to produce the draft NPS, and Mr Cull acknowledged the hard work undertaken over the last 18 months by those involved, as well as the many private landowners and volunteers who have been working with councils to protect and enhance biodiversity on their land.
“Regional councils have been working with private landowners throughout the country on biodiversity projects, and this has helped inform local government’s view of best practice, which we have brought to the draft NPS.”
“The NPS will be an important part of the regulatory framework and local government is looking forward to working with the Government as it is further developed and consulted on,” said Mr Cull.
Doug Leeder, Chair of LGNZ’s Regional Sector, said that managing biodiversity and preventing biodiversity loss is a focus for regional councils, as part of their environmental management functions.
“Regional councils in particular are involved in active management to help improve our biodiversity and I am pleased to see the importance and heightened profile given to biodiversity through the draft statement. There is increased leadership nationally which is something that regional councils have been wanting for some time. We see this through the refreshed biodiversity strategy.
“Last year the regional councils released a thinkpiece which identified the things we think are needed to improve our biodiversity and prevent further loss. One of these is national leadership and working out where we should focus our efforts to get the best results.
“Regulation is an important part of the toolkit and it is important that we get it right. A simple national policy statement that focuses, for example, on common definitions is going to be most effective.”
“What we are seeing in our regions is a huge groundswell of goodwill from landowners and communities who are doing the right thing for our biodiversity and we want to encourage this. It is important to support and encourage more of this through a carrot, rather than stick approach.
“We know there has been great cooperation between councils and private landowners to foster biodiversity, and we want to build many more of these relationships,” said Mr Leeder.