National Policy Documents

New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy

The current Biodiversity Strategy 2020 - ‘Te Mana o te Taiao’ – was launched in August 2020.  It sets a strategic framework for 2020-2050 for protection, restoration, and sustainable use of biodiversity in Aotearoa, particularly of indigenous biodiversity. 

The Strategy is underpinned by two propositions.  First te mauri hikahika o te taiao, that the mauri of nature I vibrant and vigorous.  Secondly, that people are part of nature and nature supports life and human activity, thus, when nature is in trouble, so are people.

The Strategy is focused on achieving 5 high-level outcomes:

  • Ecosystems from mountain tops to ocean depths are thriving
  • Indigenous species and their habitats across the country and beyond are thriving
  • Peoples’ lives are enriched through their connection with nature
  • Treaty partners and tangata whenua are exercising their full role as Rangatira and kaitiaki
  • Prosperity is intrinsically linked with thriving biodiversity

Each high-level outcome is supported by a number of more focused sub-outcomes.

The three pou or pillars identified as being central to achieving these outcomes are:

  • Getting the right systems in place to tackle the biodiversity crisis, with a focus on governance, legislation, and funding systems, the role of tangata whenua and matauranga, improving and aligning science and data systems.
  • Empowering all New Zealanders to help protect and restore biodiversity through increasing understanding, capability and capacity, linking positive biodiversity outcomes with economics, and government working in partnership with others.
  • Addressing the direct pressures causing decline in biodiversity and restoring biodiversity where it has been lost. 

The Strategy includes time-bound goals for 2025, 2030, and 2050, which gives hope that it will not be left to languish as occurred with the previous Strategy written in 2000.

The Strategy was developed with the input of three expert working groups and from the wider public through consultation meetings, hui, and submissions, and is underpinned by the state of the environment information presented in the companion Biodiversity Aotearoa report. It is New Zealand’s national strategy for the purposes of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

The Strategy is to be followed by a series of implementation plans that will set out actions and assign responsibilities.

Statement of National Priorities for Protecting Rare and Threatened Biodiversity on Private Land

In 2007 non-statutory guidance was released in the form of a ‘Statement of National Priorities for Protecting Rare and Threatened Biodiversity on Private Land’. The full text of the statement can be accessed here. The statement sets out four national priorities for the protection of biodiversity on private land and provides additional information on how the vegetation, ecosystem and habitat types can be identified. The national priorities are:

National Priority 1: To protect indigenous vegetation associated with land environments (defined by Land Environments of New Zealand at Level IV) that have 20 per cent or less remaining in indigenous cover.

National Priority 2: To protect indigenous vegetation associated with sand dunes and wetlands; ecosystem types that have become uncommon due to human activity.

National Priority 3: To protect indigenous vegetation associated with ‘originally rare’ terrestrial ecosystem types not already covered by priorities 1 and 2.

National Priority 4: To protect habitats of acutely and chronically threatened indigenous species.

National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity 

Between 2017 and 2018 a stakeholder group was tasked with collaboratively preparing a draft National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity for central government to use as the basis for its consultation and development process.  The Group released a draft policy statement and recommendations for complementary implementation measures, along with an explanatory report October 2018.  The government has prepared a formal draft and  undertaken a public consultation process and published a summary report of submission has been published. However, it has yet to release a final document.  This is expected sometime during 2021. More details can be found on the Ministry for the Environment website here.

Last updated at 1:56PM on August 23, 2021