Biodiversity credits: He aha ō whakaaro?
We want to hear whenua Māori landowners’ views on a biodiversity credit system, a proposed policy designed to incentivise the protection of indigenous wildlife and habitat.
The Government is currently exploring what a biodiversity credit system might look like in Aotearoa.
We want to make sure the voices of whenua Māori landowners are included at this early stage, when there is still potential to shape the policy.
Te Tumu Paeroa is often asked to give feedback on policy proposals, and we are particularly interested in this proposed policy, as the Māori Trustee administers a number of blocks which have significant biodiversity on them, such as wetlands or forests.
If you’d like to share your whakaaro on biodiversity credits, and how it might affect your land, please email [email protected] by October 6.
There is more information is below, or on the Ministry for the Environment website.
What is a biodiversity credit?
Biodiversity credits are a type of ‘green financing’. They can be used to encourage and facilitate private investment in protecting the environment.
The credits are measurable and traceable units representing projects or activities to protect, restore or enhance indigenous biodiversity. Some are tradeable. They recognise, in a consistent way, projects and activities that bring ‘nature-positive’ outcomes for biodiversity.
By selling credits, people and organisations can finance environmental projects and activities.
Buyers can then claim credit for their contribution to nature-positive actions and outcomes related to the protection, restoration and enhancement of indigenous biodiversity on public and private land.
What is a biodiversity credit system?
Landowners earn biodiversity credits by having projects or activities on their land which protect, restore or enhance indigenous biodiversity. Other entities, such as companies or charities, then ‘buy’ the credits.
Projects or activities that could earn credits might include the restoration of indigenous forest, wetlands, connecting wildlife corridors or creating buffer zones near protected habitats.
A biodiversity credit system (BCS) provides the policy framework and processes enable the creation, buying and selling of, and claims made about biodiversity credits.
How would it affect whenua Māori?
A biodiversity credit system could support Māori in their role as kaitiaki and benefit whenua Māori:
- It could be a potential source of income from the land if, for example, the land was suitable for restoration.
- It could create employment opportunities in the rohe, for example, if pest or weed control was needed.
- It could increase the resilience of the land to extreme weather events or ongoing issues such as erosion by, for example, being planted with native trees.
However, whether or not these benefits are realised would depend on the design of the system. For example, if the credits could only be earned for new activities rather than the protection of existing natural features.
What’s the consultation on specifically?
It’s about the design of a biodiversity credit system, and what role the government would play in regulating it. It is still a proposal at this stage, rather than definite. But it’s important we give feedback on how it would affect whenua Māori now, before the details are decided. We would really value input from landowners.
If you’d like to have pātai on the proposals, you can email [email protected]. If you're ready to give feedback, you can do so directly via the Ministry for the Environment, see more on their website.