Spotlight on Biodiversity

Despite being a world leader in threatened species management, Aotearoa New Zealand’s biodiversity continues to decline. Around 4,000 species are threatened or at risk of extinction.

Most core conservation laws are now at least 30 years old and our primary species protection legislation, the Wildlife Act, dates to 1953. These statutes are of a different era and pre-date awareness of both the global biodiversity and climate change crises.

Current laws make no formal distinction between introduced and native species or those that are common and critically endangered. Aotearoa New Zealand is an outlier within the developed world in having no dedicated threatened species legislation requiring listing, protection and recovery planning for our most precious and rare flora and fauna.

EDS advocates for greater biodiversity protection in resource management processes and the courts. Our Conservation Law Reform Project is developing proposals to modernise the country’s wildlife laws and improve biodiversity protection on public conservation land. We have membership of the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy Group and the Biodiversity Collaborative Group where we work collaboratively with others to enhance biodiversity protection.


Reform of the conservation system

EDS is investigating our system of laws, policies and institutions designed to conserve nature. Our first report highlights the many issues with its operation and concludes that the system needs to be urgently fixed. The government has since announced a programme to modernise the country's conservation laws.

See project