18 Nov 2018

NZ has responsibility to safeguard biodiversity - Sage

8:20 pm on 18 November 2018

The Conservation Minister says the global biodiversity crisis is as serious as climate change, and needs more action.

Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage.

Eugenie Sage said New Zealand needs to do more to protect biodiversity. Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

New Zealand has joined the Sharm El-Sheikh Declaration adopted in Egypt this week.

Eugenie Sage said the declaration is a recognition more needs to be done to protect biodiversity.

She said there are international targets that can be met, but New Zealand needs to do more.

"It goes beyond just public conservation of lands and waters, we've got to fundamentally change the way we use land, the way we produce goods, what we consume to protect biodiversity because we depend on nature for clean air, clean water."

Ms Sage said the biodiversity crisis needs to be treated the same way as climate change is internationally.

She said many New Zealand native plants and wildlife are found nowhere else in the world, and we have an international responsibility to safeguard them.

The declaration focusses on promoting biodiversity in relevant parts of the economy, including energy, mining, manufacturing and processing.

"This declaration comes at a pivotal point for nature," Ms Sage said.

"Despite significant efforts, global biodiversity continues to decline. As the international community begins work to establish new biodiversity targets, we also need to increase our focus and do all we can to achieve the current "Aichi" targets. New Zealand will be doing its bit to accelerate action at home."

New Zealand has started to develop a new national biodiversity strategy.

"With many of New Zealand's native plants and wildlife found nowhere else in the world, we have an international responsibility to safeguard them for their own sake, and for present and future generations," Ms Sage said.

"It was important to New Zealand that the declaration acknowledge the importance of circular economy principles to ensure less waste is created and more reuse is possible," said Ms Sage, "and I was pleased to see this reflected."

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