Reform of the Wildlife Act 1953: An Opportunity for Transformational Change of Aotearoa New Zealand’s Biodiversity Law
In 2021, EDS published a report on issues within the conservation system called Conserving Nature. That report highlighted the need for urgent reform of the Wildlife Act 1953.
The Government has since announced its intention to modernise conservation laws, with the Wildlife Act earmarked for reform first. We agree with this approach. The Wildlife Act is a pinch-point for Māori issues relating to the conservation system and has significant potential to halt biodiversity loss and, as a result, increase resilience to climate change impacts. Without losing sight of implications for the wider system, we consider that reform of the Wildlife Act is an opportunity to re-design the conservation system ‘from the inside out’.
This report is an interim working paper on the Wildlife Act and will form part of EDS’s next report on the conservation system, which looks at options for reform of the broader system. It is intended to stimulate discussion and progress thinking on what new wildlife legislation might look like.