E-News: August 2015
Wild Things Conference promises to be a game-changer
EDS’s annual event this year is shaping up to be a really important national summit conference on biodiversity. There is widespread concern at the continuing slide in our indigenous natural heritage across all environmental domains. This is now a 1000 year-long trend and clearly we are not doing enough to turn things around. The conference has been designed as a national conversation across all relevant sectors and will look towards tangible outcomes that will make the big difference required. We hope that Wild Things will start a change process at least as significant as our 2008 conference that kick-started the Land and Water Forum. Prominent amongst the ideas in the frame is the concept of a Conservation Dividend for the Department of Conservation in the next budget round. The country is now headed into surplus, the development side has received massive funding support (such as for irrigation), DOC has now come out of a long period of restructuring more able to manage an expanded role in improving biodiversity and so it’s time for some balancing of the development / conservation ledger with a step-up in funding. To register go to www.edsconference.com
EDS to focus on Otago, West Coast & Southland Regional Policy Statements – calls for funds
EDS is focusing attention on South Island plans and is seeking funding support for that work. We have appealed the proposed Southland Regional Policy Statement to the Environment Court and lodged very comprehensive submissions on the proposed Otago and West Coast Regional Policy Statements. Between them, these regions include a large number of New Zealand’s most iconic landscapes; from the pristine forests of Stewart Island, to the waters of Fiordland and the Catlins coast, to the snow capped mountains of Queenstown, Wanaka and the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers. As the documents at the heart of resource management in the region, it is critical that these regional policy statements protect the natural environment and correctly implement bottom lines in national policy statements. Through participating in the planning process EDS will ensure better outcomes for these regions. EDS is calling for funding assistance to help cover the costs of expert witnesses and travel. Please go to www.eds.org.nz to make an online donation.
The RMA reforms are still stalled in support party negotiations led by Minister Nick Smith. EDS and others have met with the Minister and with National’s support parties to explain the elements of the reform package that are of concern. Our position is one of supporting much of what is proposed with the exception of those measures that would lower environmental standards. Merging sections 6 and 7 is now off the table. Possibly the most contentious remaining proposal is the idea of prioritizing private property rights. EDS’s recent analysis in Vanishing Nature demonstrated that a key reason why our biodiversity is still in decline is because private development rights invariably prevail over the public interest in our natural heritage. Further emphasizing private rights can only lead to further degradation. Many machinery changes including those recommended by the Land and Water Forum are broadly acceptable.
Australia-New Zealand Climate Change and Business Conference, 20-21 October
Registration for this event will open shortly. This conference is being organised by EDS with support from Business NZ, Local Government NZ, the Insurance Council of NZ, the Sustainable Business Council, the Climate Change and Business Centre and the International Emissions Trading Association. The idea is to create a forum for business and policy-makers to discuss the risks and opportunities arising from climate change. The twin themes of mitigation and adaptation will permeate the program. Business and political leaders from Australia, New Zealand and our key trading partners will be contributing ideas and indicating the likely future evolution of policy. The conference is set against the backdrop of a possible new global agreement in Paris in December as well as the review of New Zealand’s emissions trading scheme. See www.climateandbusiness.com.
Sustainable Seas successfully launched
EDS’s latest publication Sustainable Seas wa launched on 30 June by Hon Dr Nick Smith at an event hosted by Simpson Grierson. We have had excellent feedback on the publication that provides the first comprehensive description of how New Zealand’s marine environment is managed. With numerous examples, case studies and photographs the material in the book is accessible to a wide audience. Copies can be purchased online or by mail through EDS. Visit our online bookshop for details.