Forest & Bird says the country must take bold action to reverse an environmental crisis, following the release of the Environment Aotearoa 2019 report.
“We have more than enough information about how bad things are,” says CEO Kevin Hague. “New Zealand is losing species and ecosystems faster than nearly any other country. Ninety percent of our seabirds are heading for extinction and altogether nearly 4000 of our native species are in trouble.”
“We’ve spent too many years in denial about how our actions – from rampant dairy conversions to destructive seabed trawling – are irreversibly harming our natural world.”
“This report confirms things are very bad. We must not waste any more time in fundamentally changing the way we interact with nature. We need an economy that nurtures and restores our environment, not one that trashes it.”
The Environment Aotearoa 2019 report is produced by the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand.
“This report shows the results of decades of procrastination and denial,” says Mr Hague. “Yet we know things are actually worse than it says. For example, the report missed dangerous marine heatwaves, and fails to mention the gross inadequacy of our marine protection – less than half a percent of our sea area is protected in marine reserves.”
The report found nine top environmental issues facing New Zealand, ranging from native species under threat, to climate change impacts.
“The report pointed to a lack of information in many areas,” says Mr Hague. “While we acknowledge monitoring needs more funding, the fact is we know enough to take action. As a nation, we need to make a bold plan to protect and restore nature now.”
“Within the next year, among other things, we need a forceful Biodiversity Strategy, an effective Zero Carbon Act, strong National Policy Statements on freshwater management and indigenous biodiversity, more funding for the Department of Conservation, and strong environmental policies from all of our political parties.”
“We must transform the way we live in our environment; we need to stop supporting industries that undermine this change.”
“Forest & Bird takes on these battles every day: more water being taken out of the already compromised Rangitata River, delays to getting cameras on fishing boats, or a destructive coal mine proposed in the habitat of a rare and beautiful forest butterfly.”
“Ultimately a thriving natural world can help us all: by providing clean water, protecting us from the worst impacts of climate change, and allowing our children a chance to see the wonderfully unique creatures – such as geckos, kākā, or dolphins – that call New Zealand home.”