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Council adopts Biodiversity Strategy

25 July 2008

Yesterday’s Christchurch City Council meeting adopted the Ōtautahi/Christchurch and Te Pātaka o Rākaihautū/Banks Peninsula Biodiversity Strategy, providing a local response to the Government’s New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy.

The strategy provides guidance on biodiversity issues relating to Council policy, plans and bylaws while respecting urban Christchurch’s Garden City character.

“Today marks the successful resolution of several years’ preparation and consultation,” says Kelvin McMillan, Senior Policy Planner - Biodiversity & Open Space. “Adoption of the Biodiversity Strategy encourages cooperation between the various groups working to conserve and restore the biodiversity of Christchurch and the Banks Peninsula.”

The last 700 years have seen a significant loss of biodiversity in the region. Across almost all the Canterbury Plains, much less than 10% of the indigenous plant cover remains, and most of the Banks Peninsula has less than 20% indigenous plant cover.

While several species have seen significant increases in numbers during the past two decades, and the area of native bush on Banks Peninsula has increased significantly since early last century, Mr McMillan warns that there is still much work to be done to bring about successful outcomes for protecting the region’s biodiversity. But adoption of the Biodiversity Strategy marks a significant move in the right direction.

“This strategy gives us a framework upon which community partnerships and initiatives can be built. It emphasises that Christchurch and the Banks Peninsula contain some outstanding biodiversity sites and values, and they deserve our protection.”

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