Embargoed until 31 May 2017
The QEII National Trust has welcomed the recommendations made by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Commissioner Doctor Jan Wright in her latest report 'Taonga of an island nation: Saving New Zealand's birds'.
QEII National Trust CEO Mike Jebson is particularly pleased that Doctor Wright has recognized the importance of covenants on private land in protecting New Zealand’s native birds.
"I welcome the recognition of QEII covenants as a way to protect land and the rich ecosystems that live there. I endorse the report’s recommendations to invest in New Zealand's natural heritage, support and coordinate community groups, and restore and protect native birds' habitats.”
Over the last 40 years, the QEII National Trust, has worked with landowners to establish over 4,300 covenants on private land, protecting around 180,000ha of special places and helping landowners to protect birds and their habitats.
"These covenants provide places where native birds can live and thrive but more needs to be done", says Mr Jebson.
"We're familiar with many of the challenges identified in the report, such as difficulty coordinating and supporting community conservation groups, and the competition for and restrictions on funding".
A study done by the University of Waikato Institute for Business Research found that QEII National Trust covenanting landowners are together spending an estimated $25 million of their own money every year to protect native species, forests, wetlands, and other special areas in their QEII covenants.
QEII Chair James Guild says "This is done voluntarily across New Zealand’s privately owned, lowland landscapes where some of our richest biodiversity is represented but where it is most at risk and least protected. This is a great start, but more needs to be spent - to eradicate weeds and predators, for example – to protect these special habitats.”
In May 2017, QEII launched The Stephenson Fund for Covenant Enhancement, which supports covenantors to develop their covenants and funds recovery plans for covenantors dealing with extreme weather events and other challenges.
James Guild, QEII National Trust Chair – 03 318 6873
Mike Jebson, QEII National Trust CEO — 021 499 759/04 474 1683
For more information contact Mike Jebson, QEII National Trust CEO on 021 499 759 or 04 474 1683.
The report, 'Taonga of an island nation: Saving New Zealand's birds', is available here.