27 October 2015
Queen Elizabeth II National Trust welcomes Environment Aotearoa 2015 – the third national state of environment report released by the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand.
National Trust Chair James Guild says it is a sober reminder that an ongoing, concerted effort is needed to protect and enhance our indigenous biodiversity, threatened landscapes, and the ecosystem services they offer.
‘I acknowledge that there is much work to be done. However, I do think we need to applaud the efforts of the thousands of landowners who have recognised the importance of protecting our natural heritage.
‘A large body of landowners, including thousands of QEII National Trust covenantors, are investing considerable personal time and money to protect wetlands, bush, and other natural features on their land.
Guild says the landowners are demonstrating that productivity and responsible land management practices can go hand-in-hand.
New Zealand’s lowland, privately owned, modified land contains some of our most threatened landscapes and indigenous species. Covenantors are protecting our natural heritage where it is least protected and most at risk, he says.
‘Their actions are leaving a legacy on their land that ultimately benefits us all.’
In 2007, when the last state of the environment report was released, the National Trust had established 2836 registered covenants in partnership with landowners, protecting 84,649ha. In the 8 years since, it has registered a further 1269 covenants protecting another 78,776ha.
Today, around 4500 registered and approved (awaiting registration) covenants are protecting approximately 180,000ha of special features on private land such as forests, wetlands, dunelands, waterways, and threatened species habitats.
Guild says the National Trust has been working with landowners for almost 40 years to protect special places on their land with covenants. The Trust is a proven formula that has stood the test of time, registering on average two covenants a week since it was set up in 1977, he says.
‘With current resourcing we can approve around 110 new covenants a year, but the demand from landowners wanting to covenant land is much higher than that. It shows that landowner commitment to safeguard special places on their land with covenants is not waning.
‘The National Trust is committed to working with them to help achieve their aspirations to permanently protect these places for the benefit of future generations,’ he says.
Spokesperson: QEII National Trust Chair, James Guild – Tel: 03 316873