Reports

Banking on Biodiversity

By Dr Marie A Brown

October 2017

The feasibility of biobanking in New Zealand.

The Environmental Defence Society has released a new research report aimed at exploring how habitat banking could contribute to the management of New Zealand’s biodiversity. The report is available to download at no charge.

Biobanking, where a formal structure is set up akin to a trading platform for habitat, holds some promise as a policy instrument to improve such transactions which are presently ad hoc and lack definition. But this report shows biobanking needs to be developed carefully so as not to do more harm than good. Internationally the approach has a history of poor implementation often because of bad design.

The report’s author, Dr Marie Brown, said that the way offsetting was undertaken at present was often deeply flawed and led to net biodiversity loss.

“Key weaknesses include poor compliance, lack of expertise in implementing offset projects and an inability to carry out offsets in advance of impacts. Biobanking could help address some of these issues,” said Dr Brown.

“The mitigation hierarchy – avoid, remedy, mitigate - should be pursued vigilantly and offsetting brought to play only where there are unavoidable, residual impacts on biodiversity. But the weak policy framework for offsetting must be addressed first.

“The report’s overall conclusion is that biobanking has a potentially useful role in formalising an offsetting regime but there is more work to do before it could be credibly used in New Zealand, including strengthening the legal basis for offsetting,” said Marie Brown.

Evaluating the environmental outcomes of the RMA

By Marie A Brown, Raewyn Peart, Madeleine Wright

28 September 2016

A summary document on the report can be downloaded here.

The purpose of this project is to explore whether the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) has delivered desired environmental outcomes for New Zealand. It is intended to complement wider assessments of the efficacy of the Act. The project is focused on gathering the best available information on the state of the environment in New Zealand and the influence of the RMA on that state. This evidence is intended to help enable an informed discussion on the future of the RMA.
The RMA was the first legislation internationally to enshrine the concept of sustainability in its overriding purpose which is ‘to promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources’. Now in its 25th year, the profile of the Act remains high amongst observers of environmental and economic management and it is highly visible compared with other legislation.

Often amended and much-discussed, the Act’s impact on economic and environmental outcomes is a common topic of conversation, although more the former than the latter. Often missing from this discussion is an empirical element. The critical issue really is, has the RMA delivered on its environmental goals and if not, why not? This is the key question that this report seeks to answer.

Report of the EDS TAG on the review of Sections 6 & 7 of the RMA 1991

April 2012

Report of the Environmental Defence Society Technical Advisory Group on the review of Sections 6 & 7 of the Resource Management Act 1991.

Governing Our Oceans: Environmental Reform for the EEZ

By Raewyn Peart, Kate Mulcahy & Kelsey Serjeant

April 2011

This policy paper canvasses lessons learnt from the BP Gulf oil spill and international best practice to develop practical recommendations for the way forward to strengthen environmental management of New Zealand's EEZ.

Improving Environmental Governance: The Role of an EPA in New Zealand

By Raewyn Peart

June 2009

Environmental Protection Authorities (EPAs) are a common feature in other developed countries. There is much to be learnt from their experiences. To inform the design of the New Zealand model, EDS has undertaken preliminary research on EPAs in Western Australia, Victoria, Ireland, Scotland, Sweden and Denmark.

This paper draws on the results of this research. It is informed by previous work undertaken by EDS on the operation of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) more generally, and on the effectiveness of landscape protection and coastal and marine management in particular. The paper also reflects EDS's long experience of litigating on RMA matters. A draft paper was circulated for peer review and this final paper has also benefited from the knowledge and insights of many of the reviewers identified in the acknowledgements.

Last updated at 2:28PM on October 31, 2017