Advocacy update: biodiversity and having your say on key consultations

// Biodiversity

While the Government’s new National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity (NPSIB) is disappointing, we’ve recently had some wins in the policy space.


The Government’s proposed changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and low-slope map for stock exclusion came after repeated calls for action by B+LNZ and our partners.

Low-slope map for stock exclusion consultation

B+LNZ is encouraging farmers to make their own submissions to the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) on proposed changes to the low-slope map for stock exclusion.

We appreciate that farmers are busy, but specific farm-based examples of why the current stock exclusion rules won’t work, and what would need to be done differently to make the rules work on their farms are valuable.

The options proposed by the Government include:

  • complete removal of the low-slope map and its replacement with a freshwater farm plan
  • keep the low-slope map but have a farming intensity exception; or
  • keep the low-slope map – but have a potential alternative pathway through a freshwater farm plan.

Tips for making your consultation submission 

  • This joint industry factsheet (PDF, 380KB) outlines the proposed options and a more detailed initial analysis of each. Access the MfE submission site here.
  • You do not need to fill in every question. Under the ‘Provide General Feedback’ link, you can add any feedback you like, and upload documents (i.e., maps/plans/pictures demonstrating your examples). Consultation closes on Sunday 16 July 2023.

ETS consultations

The Government is consulting on changes to the ETS and has recently released two sets of consultation materials:

  • an overarching review of the ETS and the role of forestry within it; and
  • one specifically on potential changes to the permanent category of the ETS.

View the consultation materials on MfE’s website.

The proposed changes to the ETS could help address the number of whole farms being sold for exotic forestry planting as a result of the increasing carbon price.

B+LNZ, 50 Shades of Green, Federated Farmers, eNGOs and the Climate Change Commission have been calling for change for some time.

Farmer feedback

This is a complicated area, and while the solutions won’t be simple, B+LNZ will be looking to find a balance that works for all our farmers. To achieve this, we need feedback from farmers.

  • This factsheet (PDF, 1.9MB) provides a high-level explanation of the main areas of consultation.
  • To help us better understand the range of farmer views please complete this survey by 21 July 2023.
  • We are holding a webinar to explain the proposals in more detail and get farmer feedback at 7-8pm on 20 July. You can register here.

How to make a submission

To make it easy for you to send in a submission, B+LNZ will provide a template. This will be available in early August, so keep an eye out for updates. Farmers can make a submission on the ETS or permanent forest category changes now via the MfE website, answering the questions relevant to them. The consultation closes on 11 August 2023.

Changes to the National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity (NPSIB)

The Government’s new NPSIB is not the outcome B+LNZ wants for farmers or for New Zealand. The Government clearly hasn’t listened to the concerns of many respected biodiversity experts.

Over the coming weeks, B+LNZ will be analysing the changes in detail.

The concept of biodiversity credits to incentivise farmers to protect and enhance biodiversity on their land is positive, but the proposed legislation remains fundamentally flawed.

The definition of a Significant Natural Area (SNA) remains far too broad and limits what farmers can do on that land.

Sheep and beef farmers are already looking after a large portion of indigenous biodiversity with 24 percent of the country’s native vegetation cover on sheep and beef farms, second only to the conservation estate.

It is critical that this work is recognised and rewarded. This is something B+LNZ has been working hard to achieve for many years. Biodiversity should be an asset and we welcome that being recognised.

The NPSIB will add substantial costs and a significant time burden on landowners and likely still make biodiversity a liability.

B+LNZ will continue to advocate for an integrated approach that supports landowners to integrate and manage biodiversity as part of productive farming systems, and where their efforts are recognised. Read more here.