7.1.b Cross-sectoral policy and programme co-ordination

Rationale

This indicator provides information on the extent to which policies and programmes are coordinated across sectors to support the sustainable management of forests. Non-forest sector land use and development decisions may have a significant impact on forests and their use. Cross-sector coordination of forest and non-forest related policies and programmes can promote improved forest management by helping to minimise adverse impacts and by strengthening the ability of countries to respond to national and global issues.

Current state

Sector policies and programmes

Government policy approach to primary sector management is cross-sector or landscape-based, with a focus on balancing environmental and economic outcomes. Government seeks to manage adverse effects on the environment while ensuring resource use is sustainable. This cross-sector and effects- based approach to resource management means a forestry policy is not considered appropriate by the Government. Investment decisions are largely market driven. These frameworks can result in some land use change among primary sectors, including conversion of plantation forest to pastoral farming where farming is more profitable.

The sustainable management of natural resources, and the sectors they support, is addressed during the development and review of regional policy statements and regional and district plans under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA). The RMA has a strong focus on the “integrated management” of the natural and physical resources of a region or district.

The procedures for preparing policy statements and plans incorporate formal (as set out in the legislation) and informal consultation processes. Public submissions must be called for during the drafting of policy statements and plans. Consultation with affected parties may also be required before resource consents for specific activities are granted or declined. Any submitter who is not satisfied with a council’s decision may appeal to the Environment Court, and then to the High Court (on points of law).

The RMA requires the Minister for the Environment to monitor the effect and implementation of the legislation. The Act also requires every regional and district council to monitor the state of the whole or any part of the environment of its region or district.

It does so to the extent that is appropriate to enable the local authority to carry out its functions effectively under the Act. Regional and district councils are also required to respond to complaints and, where necessary, take enforcement action. Such action may include infringement and abatement notices, enforcement orders and prosecutions (see Indicator 7.3.b).

Non-forest sector land use

The clearance of forest and development of pastoral agriculture by early settlers has resulted in significant areas of land with moderate to severe, actual or potential, soil erosion. Reforestation and other soil erosion mitigation measures are needed. The current cost of purchasing much of this land does not reflect its sustainable use (for example, few regulatory land use controls exist on soil erosion) and is an impediment to the establishment of new plantation forests or regeneration to indigenous forests. Policies to address wider environmental impacts (e.g. nutrient limits) or allocate environmental goods (e.g. water) can also impact land use-options, though the affect this has on forests is ambiguous.

Responding to national and global issues

The New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is the primary mechanism for the country to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet international commitments. It puts a price on emissions from most sectors of the economy and a value on carbon sequestration and storage to change behaviours through a market mechanism. For the past three years (2012–2014), the value of New Zealand Units (carbon credits) traded under the ETS has reflected the low international price and has provided little incentive for tree planting. (See also indicators 6.1.c and 6.2.a.)

The establishment of substantial areas of plantation forests during the 1990s that are maturing, sequestering and storing carbon has enabled New Zealand to offset its greenhouse gas emissions from other sectors of the economy, for example, agriculture and transport.

New Zealand’s strategy for implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity is outlined in the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy. The Department of Conservation co-ordinates implementation of this strategy. The international reporting period 2009– 2013 is covered in New Zealand’s Fifth National Report to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, which provides information on the nature and extent of implementation and progress towards the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

Trends

Sustainable resource management in New Zealand seeks to balance the adverse effects on the environment, while ensuring the sustainable use of resources. The Resource Management Act 1991 focuses on the integrated management of natural and physical resources.

The legislative and economic frameworks mean that investment decisions are largely market driven.

From 2008, the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme has been operative across most sectors of the economy to address greenhouse gas emissions and removals.

Trend Status

Data Quality H

Supporting Material:

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