Already Regional Councils require farm plans to some degree, activities became discretionary for any property identified as being a “significant natural area” (SNA), and fencing is becoming increasingly compulsory, and at least in one case a discretionary activity.
Practically any remnant of bush can be classified as an SNA on the basis of maintaining a corridor. People have had their lives turned upside down as they battle to understand what is happening while at the same time trying to defend their love of the land and ethic of stewardship.
Regional Councils, are driving the SNA program throughout NZ using District Councils as their vehicle, and using maps 4 years old or more to identify all vegetation in rural areas down to a blade of grass.
Worse is to come under the Biodiversity umbrella as Regional Councils move to take over “Biodiversity”, and implement ever more controls.
The first salvo has been Regional Policy Statement re-writes, and Long Term Plans, with many councils talking about employing people to manage ‘biodiversity’. Next will be Regional Plans and a re-write of the rules.
Pest and Weed Management Plans are also lined up for re-writes, so don’t be surprised to discover moves towards requiring yearly reporting per property of pest and weed control . Once again, anything ‘maintaining’ biodiversity will be captured by the net of planning controls and rules.
Where is all this coming from?
The “Dept. of Conservation (DOC) is co-ordinating the implementation of the NZ Biodiversity Strategy,” and “any enquiries can be made to the Conservation Policy Division “ of DOC.
Supporting players are the Ministries of Environment, Primary Production, Maori Development, Research-Science-Technology, Foreign Affairs & Trade (MFAT), and crown research entity Landcare Research.
Most activity by the above agencies appear to follow the recommendations from an August 2000 MfE Ministerial Advisory Committee Report titled “Biodiversity and Private Land”.
Much of this information is available on the governments Biodiversity Website.
One of the goals is to “allow for a whole of NZ monitoring, with regions likely to adopt a consistent approach to monitoring Biodiversity and one which is compatible with DOC’s” existing monitoring system.
This pre-determines regional planning outcomes, raising questions about the integrity of the process.
Landcare Research’s purpose is to “drive innovation in NZ’s management of terrestrial biodiversity and land resources to both protect and enhance the terrestrial environment and grow NZ’s prosperity.”
Nothing could be further from the truth, as they run programs solely focused on implementing planning controls through Regional Council’s and Biodiversity Forums. Overbearing planning regimes are sucking the heart out of rural NZ.
SNA’s and Biodiversity control is the greatest state takeover of rural private property we will ever see and for what?
Where is the problem?
Biodiversity loss during the 1800’s and the early 1900’s was, as we all know, huge.
With enlightened times, since 1996, biodiversity loss has been seriously low.
So on what basis are they justifying the control? And what are they doing to assess the gain?
Everyone seems to ignore the fact that the Biodiversity Strategy actually states that people and communities are best placed to protect our biodiversity.
For the Waikato Region, the estimated loss of biodiversity since 1996 is around 580 hectares of indigenous forest. With a plethora of property owners, individuals, community groups, schools and the likes of Kauri 2000, what has been the estimated biodiversity gain? To date no answer has been forthcoming.
Once again the facts are being abused as people drive a control mentality using government and our planning systems.
Communities do a far better job than DOC who have trouble looking after their own patch, and no wonder, when DOC spend all their time, and our money, looking over the fence.
Rural folk are digging deep to pay for legal representation to fight a never ending battle against councils and others.
Could this battle throughout NZ be the reason the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to MfE have recommended reducing the emphasis of SNA’s , to instead strengthen Regional Council control of Biodiversity in line with the 2000 report?
Prime Minister John Key had the sense to shelve the Draft Biodiversity National Policy Statement for the time being, but government departments have been remorseless in continuing to drive through the Biodiversity agenda. Do Ministers know and really understand what their departments are doing?
There has been little change to the Building Act or the RMA to encourage investment and jobs. Can NZ sustain an overbloated planning mindset that continues to grow the planning regime? With so much dead weight, how will this boat, our NZ, survive?