Media Release: Settlement reached over Mackenzie Country court case

The Mackenzie District Council and the Environmental Defence Society have reached an agreement that settles EDS’s Declaration Proceedings regarding land conversion in the Mackenzie District.
The settlement involves a commitment from the Council, subject to its statutory duties, to introduce a Plan Change before Christmas that will temporarily suspend the exemption provisions from its district plan for a period of…

EDS Submission: The Future of Our Fisheries Consultation

EDS submitted on the Future of Our Fisheries consultation document. Read EDS's submission.

Latest EDS News now available - last newsletter for 2016

Thank you for your interest and support during 2016 and best wishes for the holidays from the EDS team!
In this last newsletter at the end of an incredibly busy 2016 we thought we’d do a quick review of the highlights, focusing on policy, litigation and conferences. So here goes!


The Story of the HAURAKI GULF 

Included in the New Zealand Listener's Top 100 Books for 2016

Included in the New Zealand Herald's Best Books of the Year

The first print run ran out but we now have a second print run arriving next week! Order online now and delivery will…

Seachange: Gulf plan a 'major achievement'

The Hauraki Gulf document addresses the underlying causes of habitat degradation, poor water quality and fisheries depletion.
Media coverage of the launch:
Radio NZ 
NZ Herald (Jamie Morton)
NZ Herald (Gary Taylor) 
TV3 – Newshub 
Scoop Independent News 
Radio NZ interview 
It's a historic moment: the Seachange Tai Timu Tai Pari process has delivered New Zealand's first marine spatial plan.

EDS launches appeal for funds to protect our outstanding natural landscapes

Help protect our outstanding landscapes
New Zealand’s landscapes define us.  They are precious to our national identity and provide the offering that drives the tourist industry, now our biggest export earner. But they are vulnerable, and incremental development is destroying them.
EDS has long been a champion of landscape protection, working behind the scenes to ensure that regional and district…

Media Release: Threats to Mackenzie Country need addressing

The Environmental Defence Society filed proceedings in the Environment Court late last week aimed at saving the highly valued Mackenzie Country from destructive land use conversions.
“We have recently become aware of the increasing pace of land use conversions which are destroying valued landscape and ecosystems,” said EDS CEO Gary Taylor.
“Environment Canterbury has been issuing a torrent of water…

Media release: EDS supports a better future for our fishing

The Ministry for Primary Industries has released a consultation document ‘The Future of Our Fishing’ as part of its ongoing review of the fisheries management system.
“It’s great to see MPI exploring ways to improve our fisheries management system,” said EDS Policy Director Raewyn Peart. “The Quota Management System has been in place for over 30 years and has long…

Sciblogs book review

Book review: Big, bold and blue – Lessons from Australia’s Marine Protected Areas
By Raewyn Peart
As of 2015, Australia has designated over a third of its waters as marine protected areas, leaving much to be learnt from their experience – as is covered in a new book on the topic.
This impressive book, edited by James Fitzsimons and Geoff Westcott, provides…

Latest EDS News now available - December 2016

EDS's December 2016 newsletter now available online. 
Topics include: Mackenzie Country under threat; RMA not delivering for the environment; Hauraki Gulf Book launched; Climate Change Conference review; EDS shifts office...
View it online here.

Media release: Marine environment report highlights inadequacy of New Zealand’s current oceans management

Today Statistics New Zealand and the Ministry for the Environment concurrently released reports on New Zealand’s marine economy and on the state of New Zealand’s marine environment: 
New Zealand's Marine Economy 2007-13
Our Marine Environment 2016
“The results of the state of the environment report are extremely hard hitting and show that the new Environmental Reporting Act is working,” said…

Climate costs rise higher than house prices

The Economy Hub: Liam Dann interviews Brian Fallow
The cost of the credits New Zealand businesses have to buy to offset carbon emissions is skyrocketing. The price of a unit has more than doubled in the past year and is up from just $2 a tonne to nearly $19 in the past five years.
The price spike follows Government moves…

Climate Change & Business Conference Communique

Should New Zealand follow the UK model of an independent, statutory Climate Committee? That was the big question at the end of Day 2 of the Australia-New Zealand Climate Change and Business Conference, as discussion focused on just how New Zealand should transition to a low-carbon economy.
The chief executive of the UK’s Committee on Climate Change, Matthew Bell, and…

Climate Change & Business Conference: Day One Communique

Day 1 of the conference started with speeches from France’s Ambassador to New Zealand, Florence Jeanblanc-Risler, and New Zealand’s Climate Change Minister, Hon Paula Bennett, on the next stages of the Paris Agreement on climate change and the implications for New Zealand.
The ambassador, whose country’s diplomacy is credited with the successful negotiation of the Paris Agreement in December 2015,…

Media Release: EDS Submission on Productivity Commission report focused on urban planning issues

The Environmental Defence Society has released its submission on the Productivity Commission’s draft Report Better Urban Planning today. The submission acknowledges the valuable contribution of the Commission’s work, but urges against kneejerk changes to the legislation in response. It is available here.
“Overall the Report raises many useful questions but we contend there should be much more rigorous analysis and…

Media Release: How effective is NZ’s resource management system?

Source: EMA
Ground-breaking research on how the current resource management system is failing the environment was released today.
The research commissioned by the EMA, New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development, Property Council New Zealand and conducted by the Environmental Defence Society (EDS), revealed that the environmental outcomes of the Resource Management Act (RMA) have not met expectations.
In a surprising…

Fresh focus needed on climate change governance

Article for Pure Advantage September Newsletter
By Gary Taylor
The debate about what to do to address climate change continues unabated in New Zealand and around the world. Whilst high-level goals have been set in Paris, there remain many questions about how to achieve them.
In New Zealand we have a plethora of opinions from a large number of interest…

Media Release: Environmental Groups support Government on the Kermadec/Rangitāhua Ocean Sanctuary

Representatives of leading environmental groups have reaffirmed their strong support for the proposed Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary.
The groups include Greenpeace, WWF, Forest & Bird, the Environmental Defence Society and Ecologic.
Greenpeace Executive Director Dr Russel Norman said that he backed the Government’s determination to create the Sanctuary in spite of strong resistance from the fishing industry.
“The Kermadec proposal will be…

Relentless Hauraki Gulf advocate and author wins the 2016 Holdaway Award

Author Raewyn Peart has been announced the winner of the 2016 Holdaway Award for leadership in and around the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.
The award was presented at the Hauraki Gulf Forum’s annual marine park seminar today.
Raewyn is the author of The Story of the Hauraki Gulf, a 368-page illustrated book charting the discovery, transformation and restoration of the…

Media Release: EDS and Fish & Game to file proceedings against Horizons

The Environmental Defence Society and Fish & Game New Zealand are going to the Environment Court to challenge the way Horizons Regional Council is implementing its One Plan.
The One Plan is designed to manage natural resources throughout the Horizons’ region of Whanganui and Manawatu, with particular emphasis on tackling pollution, improving water quality and preserving environmental diversity.
While the One…

Conservation land safe from commercial interests

The Court of Appeal has agreed with Forest & Bird that DOC's decision to swap specially protected Ruahine Forest Park land by downgrading its status to allow the Ruataniwha Dam is unlawful.
“This decision is a major victory for New Zealand's specially protected lands. This land swap would have set a precedent for up to 1 million hectares of specially protected…

Latest EDS News - August 2016

EDS's August 2016 newsletter now available online. 
Topics include: Marine reserves reform, Fishing, Mackenzie Country tussock grasslands destroyed by tenure review, Australia-New Zealand Climate Change & Business Conference, Unitary Plan, Seachange, tourist tax...
View here.

EDS welcomes the Productivity Commission’s thoughtful analysis of the thorny issue of urban planning

Media Statement: EDS welcomes the Productivity Commission’s draft report on Better Urban Planning released today.
“New Zealand’s urban population is growing and our urban planning framework is not coping with the strain. From our initial review of the Commission’s draft report we think it provides a useful and thoughtful analysis of the issues,” said EDS CEO Gary Taylor. 
“The Commission…

Media Release: EDS supports Taonga levy

At the EDS Conference Wild Places yesterday, the Green Party leader James Shaw announced a proposed Taonga Levy, which would be applied to international visitors at the border.
“We actually think this is an excellent idea and are pleased that the Prime Minister (and Minister of Tourism) seems open to the proposal. We also note that the Labour Leader has…

Hauraki Gulf interview: Raewyn Peart & Phil Goff

Hear EDS Policy Director Raewyn Peart being interviewed by Mt Roskill MP and Auckland Mayoral candidate Hon Phil Goff on the Hauraki Gulf in advance of the launch of her book The Story of the Hauraki Gulf.
Planet Radio inverview
Purchase a copy of the book here


New Zealand’s leading environmental conference
Wild Places, Viaduct Events Centre, Auckland, 10-11 August 2016

WILD PLACES Conference Communiqué

The Environmental Defence Society’s annual summit has just concluded at the Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland. The event is New Zealand’s leading environmental conference and was attended by more than 250 resource managers and leaders and was addressed by representatives of most political parties.
The conference focused on the nexus between tourism and conservation and asked how we can better…

Unitary Plan - Up and away or over and out?

Next Wednesday, the Auckland Council will release the recommendations from the hearings panel on the proposed Auckland Unitary Plan. Councillors have until August 19 to decide whether to accept the panel's findings. There are limited appeal rights.
The plan will guide development over the next couple of decades. It is a plan prepared under pressure, both from burgeoning population growth…

Raewyn Peart to address Hauraki Gulf Forum Seminar

Raewyn Peart will speak at the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Seminar 'DO THE RIGHT THING' on Tuesday 13 September 2016, Auckland Museum Auditorium
$30 plus booking fee.  Places are limited. See more....

Media Release: EDS appeals Coromandel planning decisions

The Environmental Defence Society says that recent planning decisions for the Coromandel Peninsula are “a disaster for the outstanding natural character and ecology of the area.”
EDS has filed a comprehensive 27 page appeal with the Environment Court, challenging the district plan decisions.
“We believe that many of the decisions, especially those relating to outstanding natural character in the coastal…

The Wire: 95bFM: Raewyn Peart interview on Sea Change

Policy Director Raewyn Peart is on bFM here talking about SeaChange, the marine spatial planning process running for the Hauraki Gulf.
Hear the full interview. 

Who should pay the cost of tourism?

The number of tourists heading to New Zealand is growing rapidly, but who's looking out for the locals and the landscapes they've come to see?
It seems everyone wants a piece of the beautiful Blue Spring, near Putaruru in South Waikato, 70 percent of the country's bottled water is drawn from there and in the past 10 years visitor numbers…

'Green Tax' for travellers gains ground

As tourist numbers topple record upon record, there is growing support for a border tax or 'green levy' to cover the cost of hosting them. 
In the next five years, the government predicts 4.5 million visitors will be wheeling their suitcases across the tarmac in search of a New Zealand adventure.
And as Insight has been finding out, there is…

Drive for conservation fund boost

A major environmental group wants to see more money for conservation funding amid Thursday's Budget announcements, as newly released data shows more of New Zealand's species are faring worse.
The Government this month announced that an extra $20.7 million in operating funding, sourced from the previous Budget, would be spent on the largest pest control operation in the country's history…

Environmental concern at talk of extended Auckland boundaries

Auckland's been put on notice to make more land available for housing or risk being made to by the Government. Hear from Councillor Chris Darby, and Gary Taylor, Chairman of the Environmental Defence Society.
Listen here.  

Taxing tourists to save our species

By Marie Brown & Geoff Simmons. The Dominion Post 17 May 2016.
It isn't often that turkeys vote for Christmas, but the tourism industry has done just that, stating they are open to charging visitors to fund infrastructure.
This is no doubt in the face of public pressure at the ever mounting tourist numbers and the smelly problems they leave behind.…

The transition pathway is the next big climate challenge

Pure Advantage Newsletter: April/May 2016
By Gary Taylor.
As the commitments made at last year’s Paris agreement on climate change start to take tangible form, countries are revisiting their carbon policies. New Zealand is no exception. The expectation is that our domestic policy settings will need to have much more bite.
The big idea is that the world will collectively…

Media Release: EDS calls for a wider review of the QMS

The University of Auckland today released the results of its study into harvest levels of New Zealand fisheries. The reconstruction of catch figures between 1950 and 2010 concludes that 2.7 times more fish has been caught than reported by official statistics.
“The results of the study raise concerning issues about the operation of our fisheries management system,” said EDS CEO…



Axe hanging over Our Changing World

EDS is extremely concerned that Radio New Zealand’s iconic and award winning program Our Changing World is facing the cost-cutting axe.
“RNZ CEO Paul Thompson has confirmed to us that a decision was taken last week to review spoken features and drama in order to reduce costs and staffing,” said EDS CEO Gary Taylor.
“This suite of programs includes Our…

Media Release: EDS welcomes Battle for our Birds 2 funding boost

The Prime Minister and Minister of Conservation have today announced a $20.7 million funding injection for the Department of Conservation.
This is additional money to pay for the Battle for the Birds 2 - a critical pest control initiative designed to stem the plagues of mammalian predators that are occurring as a result of the beech mast. This will enable…

EDS questions motivation of fisheries companies

The Environmental Defence Society has responded to the media release and High Court proceedings filed today by the Fishing Industry Association and a number of fishing companies challenging the proposed Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary.
“We are gob-smacked by this announcement,” said EDS CEO Gary Taylor.
“We are hugely disappointed that the industry, after extolling its acceptance of good corporate behavior in…

EDS submission on the NZ ETS Review Discussion Document

EDS has today made a submission on the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme Review Discussion Document.
View our submission here.

EDS submits on the Kermadec Open Sanctuary Bill

EDS has today made its submission on the Kermadec Open Sanctuary Bill. View the submission in full here.

Next Steps for Fresh Water - EDS Submission

You can view EDS's FINAL submission on the Fresh Water Consultation Document.
Visit the Submissions page on our website or click here to go directly to the pdf document.
View our press release on the issues.

Sciblogs: Part 9 Vision: Biodiversity loss is not inevitable: it is a choice – your choice!

New Zealand’s indigenous biodiversity is in crisis – a crisis of state and trend, a crisis of governance and a crisis of public engagement – because the fundamental drivers of loss have not been addressed. What follows is the vision articulated in Vanishing Nature to bring solutions together and identify progress in communicating it.
New Zealand has a great many existing advantages:…

Sciblogs: Part 8: Solving the biodiversity crisis

Over the past several weeks I’ve unpacked the essence of Vanishing Nature, pointing out where the fundamental drivers of the loss of nature appear throughout our economy and institutions.
The worrisome state of our national conservation agency (DOC) is a manifestation of politically sanctioned agency capture promoting low priority to safeguarding nature over competing government priorities. On private land, obsessions…

Sciblogs: Part 7: Community conservation won’t save biodiversity

Community conservation is a real jewel in the crown of New Zealand’s conservation effort. Many thousands of kiwis fight for kiwis every weekend: trapping, weeding, building tracks, running tours and building community links to nature. Community groups, iwi organisations, private sector inputs, the philanthropic sector and landowners toil admirably.
But this won’t save biodiversity.
Community conservation should not substitute adequate…

Sciblogs: Part 6: The ultimate commons

Clocking in at more than 20 times New Zealand’s land area, our marine environment is extraordinary and full of biodiversity we have yet to even describe.
But weak and dysfunctional governance renders protection of marine biodiversity from ongoing decline almost impossible.
Our ‘big blue backyard’ faces key issues, particularly the absences of a staunch statutory advocate, effective conservation models and…

Sciblogs: Part 5: Water runs downhill

New Zealand’s freshwater bodies are as revered as they are imperiled.
Despite decades of law devoted to protecting freshwater ecosystems and safeguarding water quality in some way or other, the decline in freshwater biodiversity is startling. Lakes, wetlands, estuaries, streams and rivers are home to a pretty incredible array of wildlife that is in deep trouble. While some effort in…

Sciblogs: Part 4: Conservation – it’s a private matter

Conservation on private land is a story of the good and the bad.  Of the remaining privately-owned natural habitat, at least 350,000 hectares are legally protected by covenant of one sort or another. 
The Queen Elizabeth II National Trust recently registered their four thousandth covenant making a total of180,000 hectares protected for open space values. Nga Whenua Rahui covenants protect…

Sciblogs: Part 3: A wounded gatekeeper – what’s up, DoC?

Many countries don’t have a centralised conservation agency like New Zealand has, but do these gatekeepers have the backing to stem environmental degradation and biodiversity loss?
Last week I set out the three fundamental drivers of biodiversity loss:

Market failure for biodiversity
Regulatory failure due to agency capture and the power of private interests
Perverse incentives that lead politicians to…

Sciblogs: Part 2: What’s really driving loss of nature in New Zealand?

Last week I demonstrated that despite a proud history of conservation and environmental management, New Zealand is still fast losing its natural heritage and, with it, our future prosperity.
Addressing that requires some reframing of what conservation is for New Zealand, and recognition that doing more of the same might slow ongoing loss but cannot reverse the trend.
The things…

Sciblogs: Part 1: A proud history of conservation

The extraordinary specialness of our wildlife and ecosystems is internationally renowned. New Zealand is a global biodiversity hotspot with deep time endemism.
This means that not only are things here pretty special, but they’ve been that way for millions of years. A unique identity for New Zealanders has been forged from this environment, and our natural capital has phenomenal economic…

Media Statement: EDS says PM should invest in nature, not just roads and rail

EDS has welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement that Government intends spending more on built infrastructure.
“It’s good at a time of fiscal surplus or near surplus to loosen the purse strings and bring forward much-needed investment on major infrastructure projects like Auckland rail and regional roads,” said EDS CEO Gary Taylor.
“But there’s also a compelling need to invest in…

NZ Herald opinion piece: Marine protection proposals need more work

By Raewyn Peart
The Government's proposals for revamping our marine protection legislation are long overdue. It is now 45 years since the Marine Reserves Act 1971 came into force. That legislation was world leading for its time. But we now know a lot more about the vast variety of life in the sea, its importance to us and our growing…

Govt under fire for not considering EEZ in marine review

Listen to EDS's Policy Director, Raewyn Peart, on Morning Report.

Pathways to Prosperity - new EDS publication

EDS has been working on a significant follow-up publication to Vanishing Nature. It is a report called Pathways to prosperity: safeguarding biodiversity in development and is aimed at policy makers, legal, planning and ecology professionals, and resource users dealing with this complex interface.
Generously supported with funding from the New Zealand Law Foundation.
Purchase the report now....

Last updated at 9:43AM on December 22, 2016