National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity

Authors: Chris Fowler, David Pedley
Publication: New Zealand Journal of Forestry, Volume N.Z.J.For. 2011, Issue N.Z.J.For. 56(2) 2011, pp 20-22, Aug 2011
Publisher: New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Abstract: Chris Fowler and David Pedley ask some questions about the “Biodiversity NPS” - what is its purpose, will it be effective, and what will be the impact on forestry? Earlier this year, the Government notified a Proposed National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity (the Biodiversity NPS). This article examines the purpose of the Proposed NPS, whether it will be effective at achieving its objective, and the potential implications for the forestry sector. What is a NPS? A NPS is a form of national guidance that sets out the objectives and policies on an issue of national significance; in this case, New Zealand’s indigenous biodiversity. It sits at the top of the hierarchy of planning documents (as shown in Figure 1) and influences all that comes beneath it. A NPS is slightly different to a National Environmental Standard (NES), such as the NES for Plantation Forestry. In general, an NES contains detailed standards and rules that directly control activities throughout the country. In contrast, a NPS contains more general statements in the form of objectives and policies that provide broad guidance for decision making under the RMA. Once an NPS comes into force, all local authorities throughout New Zealand must amend their plans and policy statements to ensure they are consistent with the NPS. This often requires changes to the objectives and policies in those plans, as well as the potential for new rules to give effect to those provisions. In other words, a NPS can very quickly have direct effect on the ground and lead to more, or less, restrictions on activities.