Thursday, April 25, 2024

New wildlife Act to spread its wings for all species

Minister of Conservation, Willow-Jean Prime, has announced New Zealand’s 70-year-old Wildlife Act will be replaced with modern, fit-for-purpose legislation to better protect native species and improve biodiversity.

The Minister said new species legislation was urgently needed to address New Zealand’s biodiversity crisis.  

“More than 4,000 of our native species are currently threatened, with some at risk of extinction. A new Act will help to address threats they face, including impacts from climate change, invasive species and habitat loss,” she said.

The announcement follows a Department of Conservation (DOC) review which determined that the current Act lacked a clear purpose and didn’t effectively protect at-risk or threatened species. As one example, not all native species are currently covered by the Act. 

Repealing and replacing the existing Act will follow a standard legislative process during the next parliamentary term.  

“The DOC review reinforced strong support for reforming the Wildlife Act and a shared vision for native species and their habitats,” Minister Prime said.  

“This is something the community has been calling for, and we are committed to ensuring taonga are taken care of for future generations.” 

An independent Strategic Oversight Group also provided advice and valuable input into the DOC review.  Group members have diverse skills and expertise in te ao Māori, conservation, law, environmental policy, tourism, science, game animal management and governance.  

“Their expert advice and DOC’s analysis of the Wildlife Act identified that replacement of the Act would achieve greater protection of species and improved biodiversity outcomes.”  

“I thank all those who have participated so far and provided perspectives that have informed the review of the Wildlife Act,” the Minister said.

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