SHORT INFO: Update on New Zealand’s Biodiversity Offsets – from the latest Invercargill Workshop

What’s it about in short: work­shop on bio­di­ver­sity off­sets in New Zealand

When was it released: Novem­ber 12, 2015

By whom: Jemma Penelope

More info:

Short extract:

This week’s work­shop showed New Zealand becomes more prac­ticed in bio­di­ver­sity off­set­ting, but com­men­tary also high­lighted that some prob­lems will become more promi­nent, rather than less. For exam­ple, work­shop lead­ers and audi­ence dis­cussed dif­fi­cul­ties get­ting consent-holders inter­ested in the long-term com­mit­ments required for per­pet­ual bio­di­ver­sity offsets.

Also raised were issues of time-lags between project impact and off­set matu­rity, and small-scale impacts that would ben­e­fit from being able to con­tribute to aggre­gate off­set options. Impor­tantly, it’s becom­ing clearer we need a way to reward those who do pro-active or pre-emptive bio­di­ver­sity man­age­ment before their impact occurs.

From a pol­icy per­spec­tive, Dr. Brown noted that there is clear poten­tial for third-party off­set providers to fill some of these gaps iden­ti­fied, and deliver bet­ter out­comes in off­set­ting sit­u­a­tions. In mon­i­tor­ing and com­pli­ance, there are clear advan­tages to con­tract­ing out these respon­si­bil­i­ties to ded­i­cated enti­ties – not the devel­op­ers with busi­nesses to run, nor the reg­u­la­tors with over-stretched insti­tu­tional capacity.

Ussher went on fur­ther to point to the next step – Bio­di­ver­sity Off­set Bank­ing (or BioBank­ing). He says there is plenty of demand from project devel­op­ers to pre-emptively con­serve and man­age bio­di­ver­sity before impacts occur, so there is a clear case that New Zealand will need to move towards incor­po­rat­ing a bank­ing model in the future to truly cap­i­talise the poten­tial in bio­di­ver­sity offsetting.

New Zealand is cer­tainly gain­ing steam in bio­di­ver­sity off­set­ting, and see­ing that we’re not yet at the top of our game inter­na­tion­ally, one would pre­dict there is plenty of room for growth in this area. True envi­ron­men­tal mar­kets in the form of an Off­set Bank­ing sys­tem are not here yet, but are sit­ting on the hori­zon with the path clear­ing year by year. Watch this space.


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