Draft NPS for Indigenous Biodiversity

Protecting New Zealand's iconic flora and fauna is integral to the future of farming and the Government is consulting on how it can protect New Zealand's native biosecurity.

Update 25 July 2022

The Government’s consultation on the exposure draft of the National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity has now closed. B+LNZ provided a joint submission with DINZ.

Read our submission here (PDF, 92KB). The supporting documents (a review of the SNA criteria by Element Environmental and the 2020 submission by B+LNZ and DINZ) are also on the right of this page.

Find out more about the consultation on the Ministry for the Environment website.

B+LNZ continues to work on raising awareness of farmer concerns about the biodiversity legislation, in particular SNAs. We’ll keep farmers updated.

What we did during the July 2022 consultation

  1. We published guidance for farmers on how to make their own submission. Access it here (PDF, 187KB).
  2. We sought real-life examples of farmers integrating indigenous biodiversity into their farming systems, to further strengthen our submission. We developed a brief survey about this.
  3. We encouraged farmers to contact their local MP – you can still do this. Key points could include:
  • The criteria for SNAs are still too broad.
  • More time is needed to test the effects of this and to get the rules right before it creates issues.
  • Our sector is hugely supportive of indigenous biodiversity but we don’t believe that the draft legislation will achieve its intended aims.
  • The Government needs to slow down its ambitious environmental policy agenda and make sure that policies are not developed in silos but integrate effectively with each other.

B+LNZ submission on the NPS on Indigenous Biodiversity March 2020

The following is the submission that B+LNZ made in response to the Government’s original consultation in March 2020. Below is an outline of the information and advice provided to farmers during that consultation period.


In early 2020 the Government announced it would postpone a decision on the NPSIB until early 2021. B+LNZ is advocating for this to be further delayed, given the amount of work that needs to be done on freshwater and climate change. More updates will be provided when available.

*Please note the submission period closed on 14 March 2020.

Online submission form and templates for farmers to make a submission

B+LNZ provided an online submission form and three different kinds of templates that farmers could use. These included: 


We encouraged farmers to tailor the submission to tell their story about what they have done to protect their biodiversity; what the proposed policies would mean on their farm, and specific solutions. Tailored submissions have more impact.

Indigenous Biodiversity workshops

Throughout February B+LNZ ran a series of workshops (in collaboration with Federated Farmers) to help farmers understand the implications from the NPS on Indigenous Biodiversity and to provide advice on writing a submission.

Background key resources

Have your say

The Government is currently consulting on a new draft National Policy Statement (NPS) for Indigenous Biodiversity with consultation closing on 14 March 2020. National Policy Statements are a tool the Government uses to set regulatory requirements across the country. The NPS for biodiversity is of particular relevance to sheep and beef farmers given the significant stands of native vegetation on our farms – some 2.8 million hectares according to research by the University of Canterbury.

There is a lot in the NPS on Indigenous Biodiversity that we agree with, including its intent, but there are some areas of concern that require changes if farming is to coexist with biodiversity. B+LNZ is working with officials to clarify the intent of the policy.

Key points

  • Local Councils will be required to map all significant natural areas (SNAs) within five years against a new standard criteria, whereas previously there was more flexibility for how this was defined by each community.
  • Given the proposed criteria, it’s possible that these SNAs could cover most, or all of, entire sheep and beef farms in some areas.
  • A range of measures in the statement could then severely restrict activities farmers could undertake within or adjacent to those SNAs.
  • This would then have the effect of creating a grandparenting approach, where farmers who have protected indigenous biodiversity, or encouraged regeneration of it, wear the greatest costs and potential limitations to the ongoing use of their land.

Factsheet on the draft NPS for Indigenous Biodiversity

Federated Farmers and B+LNZ have also produced a joint factsheet about the NPS for Indigenous Biodiversity which summarises the key changes and their likely impacts for farmers.

Next steps

We will be providing farmers with additional information, including submission templates, in the following weeks, as given the likely impacts of the current draft NPS for Indigenous Biodiversity it is vital that farmers make submissions to highlight issues with what’s proposed so that we can help the Government to find a practical and workable solution that meets all our objectives.

Find out more