Biodiversity proposal may affect dairy farmers

11 February 2020

Dairy farmers have already undertaken a wide range of work to protect biodiversity, such as planting, pest control, retiring or covenanting land, and fencing off native vegetation.

Dairy farmers are being encouraged to make a submission on a new biodiversity proposal which may affect them, and share their views on the best way to enhance and protect biodiversity on-farm.

The Ministry for the Environment is consulting on a proposed National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity until 14 March 2020, and DairyNZ is encouraging farmers to make a submission.

“Dairy farmers have carried out a wide range of work in recent years to protect and improve biodiversity on their farms,” says Aslan Wright-Stow, DairyNZ’s Environment Manager.

“This includes planting, pest control, retiring or covenanting land, and fencing off native vegetation, which benefits water quality and ecosystems.

“Farmers recognise the important role indigenous plants and trees and native species play in our ecosystems. The consultation underway is an opportunity for farmers and the community to consider practical options to preserve and enhance biodiversity, and to highlight the work they have already done to protect biodiversity.”   

Dairy farmers with indigenous vegetation, native bird or insect habitats, or wetlands on their farms could be affected by the proposals in the consultation document.

The proposals would require all councils to identify and map Significant Natural Areas (SNAs) of indigenous biodiversity in consultation with qualified ecologists. Some councils have already undertaken this work, while others have not.

“Farmers with land classed as having an SNA may have restrictions placed on new activities they can carry out in and around that area,” says Mr Wright-Stow.

“Many dairy farmers are already taking action on farm to protect indigenous biodiversity.  We encourage farmers to make submissions sharing their views on the proposals and their practical experience of what works well on farm and what does not,” he adds.

Some dairy farmers who don’t have SNAs on their farms could also be affected by the proposals – for example if the farm borders an area of indigenous vegetation on a neighbouring farm or a National Park.

More information on how the proposals may affect dairy farmers is available online at

DairyNZ is planning to make a submission on the proposal on behalf of farmers.

Media inquiries:

Vanessa Fever

Senior Communications and Media Specialist

Phone 027 836 6295

Lee Cowan

Senior Engagement & Communications Manager

Phone 021 930 836

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