E-News: October 2015
EDS E-News: October 2015
Meeting with Prime Minister
At a recent meeting with the PM we asked for more funding for the Department of Conservation. It is clear, now that DOC restructuring is near an end, that the department is chronically under-resourced for the job it has to do. DOC manages 30% of New Zealand, is the advocate for nature on private land and has extensive marine responsibilities. It does all of that on a budget less than that of Dunedin City. We pointed out to the PM that biodiversity was still declining; that only a fraction of public land was being managed for predators and that wilding pines were spreading at an alarming rate. We argued for more resources now that we are heading towards a surplus inclduing for core activities like science capability and frontline staff. He undertook to consider the proposition at budget time. ENGOs at the meeting agreed to push hard for a $50m uplift in 2016-17.
Marine Protected Areas
The long-awaited Marine Protected Areas bill (or discussion paper) is still held up in disputes between Ministers. This legislation is designed to modernise the Marine Reserves Act 1971 which is considered too narrow, inflexible and confrontational for our time. And most importantly, it doesn’t extend into the EEZ – which National promised it would. In fact, as we pointed out to the Prime Minister, this is the only clear promise in the Bluegreens Manifesto that hasn’t yet been implemented. If marine protection isn’t extended beyond the territorial sea that will be a breach of an unambiguous promise. We expect to see a discussion paper before the end of this calendar year.
An announcement has been made on Tuesday 29 September by the PM that the government will enact special legislation to create a large marine reserve around the Kermadecs. This is of course very welcome: any substantial increase in the area of marine protection is a very positive step. The real issue though (as we have outlined above) is reforming the way marine protected areas are created and that goes to the review of the Marine Reserves Act, long promised but still awaited.
Pathways to Prosperity
Dr Marie Brown has been hard at work on a new project, examining innovative tools to get better outcomes for nature in development. Our biodiversity crisis is serious and business as usual is locking in decline. New approaches and some more modern policy is needed to better equip us to safeguard nature where it’s most vulnerable. More adaptive approaches will ensure that where policy tools can make a difference, they are more likely to be fit for purpose. Pathways to prosperity will be released later this year and Marie will be speaking about the findings at various locations around the country over the coming months.
Climate Change Conference
EDS is organising the Australia-New Zealand Climate Change and Business Conference (Auckland, 20-21 October 2015). This event is aimed at a business and local government audience. It’s clear that the business sector will provide the innovation and much of the leadership required to address the climate challenge while local government will have to deal with the consequences of a changing climate and manage the risks of more severe weather events and sea level rise. The conference will bring those sectors together with senior policy-makers and key Ministers to review progress and explore fresh opportunities as we transition to a low carbon future. It should be timely event given the imminent Paris COP and ETS review. www.climateandbusiness.com
EDS has engaged Mike Britton, former CEO of Forest & Bird, as our fundraising manager. This position is incredibly important because we are finding it increasingly difficult to garner the resources needed to maintain our presence in the not-for-profit environmental sector. Part of the problem is that DOC is mopping up a lot of corporate and philanthropic support for its own Partnership initiatives, leaving slim pickings for groups like EDS. Mike Britton has been hired to change that around and explore new ways of funding our important work.
The Carrington Farms property on Karikari Peninsula has been the subject of much litigation and controversy over the years. A new Chinese owner is proposing a large extension to the existing golf course based accommodation. EDS has been consulted on the project and has welcomed that willingness to engage. However we have serious concerns about the scale of what is proposed and its impact on the sensitive beach environment.
Review of fisheries management
EDS has been successful in obtaining part-funding for a review of fisheries management within Auckland region. The objectives of the project are to develop a clear understanding of the effectiveness of fisheries management in the Auckland region in addressing the impacts of fishing activity on marine biodiversity. Where weaknesses are identified, the project will develop practical and implementable recommendations to address them, drawing on international, national and regional experience. The project will commence next month and EDS is currently looking for partners to cover the balance of the costs.
International Marine Spatial Planning Symposium
EDS Policy Director Raewyn Peart will be attending the 2015 International Marine Spatial Planning Symposium: Sharing Practical Solutions which is being held in Rhode Island, USA in early October. This will provide an excellent opportunity for EDS to gain insights from leading marine spatial practitioners working around the world as well as to share the learnings so far from the Seachange - Tai Timu Tai Pari project.