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Powerful nature protection group formed

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 10/08/2016

Environment groups and landowner organisations are going to work together to protect nature.

The group that's leading the development of a national policy statement on biodiversity includes Forest and Bird, Federated Farmers, the Environmental Defence Society, the Forest Owners' Association and iwi.

Environment Minister Nick Smith announced its formation.

"This initiative is about bringing environmental groups and landowners together to develop clearer national policy on protecting the plants and animals that make New Zealand special," he said.

"Resolving the tension between the reasonable rights of landowners to use their land and the wider public interest of protecting native plants and animals is difficult territory."

Dr Smith says he's "hugely encouraged" by the goodwill of the key stakeholders.

Forest and Bird says it's cautiously optimistic that the development of a national policy will help struggling native wildlife.

"New Zealand is facing a biodiversity crisis," said conservation manager Jen Miller.

"We have 985 threatened species, and another 2772 at risk."

Federated Farmers says it's an opportunity to find common understanding.

"From here we chart a way forward," said biodiversity chairman Chris Allen.

"The key to success is a co-ordinated effort at scale, with affordable technology that transformer how pest management takes place on farmland."

The Greens say the national policy statement must be worth more than the paper it's written on.

"This announcement is another example of the government making a headline statement at the same time as it trashes environmental protection measures in its Resource Management Act reforms," said Eugenie Sage.

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