Sunday, April 14, 2024

NZIER reveals $100 billion Hauraki Gulf valuation

The Hauraki Gulf Forum has today welcomed the release of a ground-breaking natural capital valuation of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, produced for the Forum by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER).

The innovative ecosystem services valuation shows that the Gulf provides annual flows of value to New Zealanders of more than $5 billion a year, with an asset valuation between $40 billion to $100 billion depending on the discount rate used.

“For many of us, the Hauraki Gulf is simply invaluable” says Forum Co-Chair Nicola MacDonald.

“Te Moananui-ā-Toi is an ancestor and a taonga. It is part of who we are.

“At the same time, we have seen well over a century of continuous damage done to the Gulf which is not priced, and not remediated.

“Now, for the first time, we can start to put real numbers around the continued assault on this taonga,” she said.

At 1.4 million hectares, or more than 20 times the size of Lake Taupō, the Gulf includes the Waitematā Harbour, Gulf Islands, Firth of Thames and the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula.

Co-Chair, Toby Adams says the commercial flows of value from the Gulf have long been understood.

“For example, the annual value of commercial fishing and associated employment in the Marine Park,” he said.

“Same for the value of proximity to the Gulf for the real estate market. What is novel here is that we now have initial numbers around the cultural, recreational, social and well-being value we all derive.

“We also have some numbers around the regulating and supporting services that the Gulf is providing us with.”

Mr Adams says it was surprising to read how well under half of the value flowing from the Gulf will ever show up in a traditional GDP valuation model.

“This study is deliberately disruptive. It is not perfect, and there are naturally a range of assumptions used that will no doubt be hotly debated,” he said.

“There are also aspects where we simply lack the data to offer a full account – for example, the Gulf’s ability to sequester carbon. But it is a credit to the Forum and to NZIER to have taken this bold and important step. We hope that others around the motu will pick up this work and take it forward in their areas. This is a genuinely exciting moment for the future management of our precious natural environment.”

Co-Chair MacDonald said it should be understood that the valuation only applied to the Gulf in its current condition.

“And as our State of the Gulf reports show, it is hurting, having suffered decades of destruction. One can only imagine what a fully restored, healthy, abundant Gulf would be worth to this beautiful country of ours,” she said.

Read the valuation report here.

Latest Articles