The Ministry for the Environment (MfE) has now released its exposure draft of the National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity (NPS-IB), closely following the exposure drafts of proposed changes to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020 (NPS-FM) and the Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 (NES-F) (see our legal alert - Exposure draft on changes to the NPS-FM and NES-F released).
MfE intends the NPS-IB to protect, maintain and restore the environment, forming an essential response to the biodiversity decline in Aotearoa New Zealand. The NPS-IB applies in the terrestrial environment only and does not apply in the coastal marine area.
The proposed NPS-IB includes:
- Provisions to protect, maintain and enhance indigenous biodiversity
- An enhanced role for tangata whenua in decision-making regarding indigenous biodiversity and the identification of significant natural areas (SNA). This includes managing biodiversity in a way that gives effect to the new concept of Te Rito o te Harakeke
- A requirement for indigenous biodiversity to be protected and managed both within and outside SNAs, including for highly mobile fauna such as birds
- A nationally consistent set of assessment criteria for identifying SNAs and a requirement for local authorities to undertake assessments to identify those areas
- A policy direction that certain adverse effects on SNAs from new subdivision, use and development are avoided. This policy direction could have wide reaching impacts on developments if the listed exceptions do not apply.
Click here to see the exposure draft summary from MfE.
The proposed provisions will affect every person who undertakes an activity within a SNA and would impose more restrictions beyond SNAs as well.
MfE is seeking feedback on the workability of the exposure draft, which are due by 21 July 2022.
Our national environment and resource management team has been following the development of the NPS-IB closely. Please contact a member of our team if we can help you prepare a submission or would like to discuss the potential implications of the NPS-IB.