THE government has released its plans for a biodiversity credit system to encourage landowners to protect native habitats on their property.
The system will be part of an overall National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity.
The government’s view is that while it can protect public land, much of the land in New Zealand, including Māori land, is privately owned and many of NZ’s at-risk species and habitats are outside the 30% of the country managed by the Department of Conservation. The measures aim to protect native wildlife and habitats and reverse their decline from human activities.
One aim of any biodiversity credit system will be to help – to some extent – incentivise the planting of native forests over pines under the Emissions Trading Scheme.
The BCS will allow businesses, charities and individuals to buy credits for restoration and preservation projects on private land.
The discussion document has not determined whether or not businesses and others will be able to use those credits as climate-related offsets.
One of the consultation questions is whether biodiversity credits can be used to offset development impacts as part of resource management processes.
A consultation process on the credit system will run until November 3 and is one of several calls for feedback on the biodiversity policy. The government received 7,000 submissions between November 2019 and March 2020, and more submissions came in last year.