The latest iteration of the National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity (NPSIB) is a massive land grab on a scale not seen in New Zealand for 140 years, Groundswell NZ spokesman Jamie McFadden says.
“This policy, as drafted, turns biodiversity into a liability and penalises those that have done the most in looking after the environment.”
“Under this policy, the more you do to look after nature on your land, the worse off you will be. It is punitive regulation that does nothing positive for the environment.”
“Tens of thousands of both urban and rural property owners will be impacted and millions of dollars will be collectively wiped off property values.”
“We saw last year with the West Coast couple who had their 120 hectare property classified as a significant wetland and were told by a property agent that they may as well give their land away, as purchasers just don’t want to know.”
“If they had developed their land, like their neighbours, their property would be worth around $2 million. That their property is now worthless demonstrates how appallingly unjust and unworkable this policy is.”
“Under the Significant Natural Areas (SNAs) component of the NPSIB, millions of dollars will be wasted on tick box assessments of significance that do nothing to help property owners protect biodiversity.”
“For example, Southland District Council estimated the mandatory SNA surveys will cost the ratepayers $18 million. Not a drop of that will achieve any work on the ground to protect biodiversity.”
Mr McFadden, with decades of experience working in conservation and assisting land owners with environmental projects, is concerned the SNA policy will continue to waste millions of dollars on bureaucratic processes, rather than helping tackle the biggest threat to biodiversity - pests and weeds.
“Groundswell NZ is promoting an alternative solution that focuses on threats to biodiversity and that empowers and supports landowners to action.”
“We are urging all property owners, councils, and environmentalists to strongly oppose this ill-conceived proposal,” says Mr McFadden.