15.1 Introduction

Close up f flax flower.The Northland region contains a wide diversity of habitat types and ecosystems and an unusually high number of indigenous species, a number of which are found only in Northland. Some of these species are restricted to single sites, e.g. North Cape, and some of these special sites are on private land.

Throughout this chapter where biodiversity is stated it refers to indigenous biodiversity. However as introduced pests and weeds are a significant pressure on indigenous biodiversity this chapter also includes information on biosecurity in Northland.

Regional Policy Statement objectives

The Regional Policy Statement (NRC 2002) contains a range of objectives relating to biodiversity. These objectives seek to maintain the biodiversity of the Northland region.

The Regional Policy Statement (RPS) objectives are:

· Maintenance of the biodiversity of the Northland region.

· Protection of the life supporting capacity of ecosystems through avoiding, remedying or mitigating (in that order of priority) the adverse effects of activities, substances and introduced species on the functioning of natural ecosystems.

· Protection of areas of significant indigenous vegetation and the significant habitats of indigenous fauna.

Environmental results anticipated

The following is the anticipated environmental results after the implementation of the policies for ecosystems and biodiversity in the RPS:

· An increase in the areas of significant indigenous vegetation and the significant habitats of indigenous fauna which are formally protected.

· No significant increase in the number of threatened species in the region.

Other relevant legislation

The Wildlife Act 1963 protects certain species of native animal wherever they occur and the Conservation Act 1987 which is for the protection and enhancement of biodiversity on crown land. However there is no legislative equivalent which protects native plant species on private land.

RMA Amendments

The 2003 amendment to the Resource Management Act 1991 emphasised the responsibilities of local government in biodiversity under section 30. This included the following additional functions for Regional Councils:

An additional reason for controlling the use of land for the purpose of:

"maintaining and enhancing ecosystems in water bodies and coastal waters"

and a new function:

"the establishment, implementation and review of objectives, policies and methods for maintaining indigenous biodiversity."