Introduction

Overview of the consultation purpose, context, and how to give your feedback.

This overview is part of the Long-term Insights Briefing consultation 2021.

2022 draft briefing out for consultation

Be aware the information below refers to the previous 2021 draft briefing and is no longer current. 

A 2022 Long-term Insights Briefing draft is now out for consultation. Submissions close 5 pm, 16 January 2023.

Read the latest draft and have your say

We have also refined the scope of ‘information and technologies’ in the latest draft to three tools as examples. This is not to suggest that these are the only tools that could be supported.

On this page:

What is a Long-term Insights Briefing?

A Long-term Insights Briefing explores the medium and long-term trends, risks and opportunities facing Aotearoa New Zealand and potential options for responding to them. It aims to stimulate debate and, by looking to the long-term, we can make sure we are ready to make decisions that achieve our vision for biodiversity.

This is a great opportunity for you to share your thoughts on what challenges and opportunities might lie ahead, and how we could respond.

To find out more about Long-term Insights Briefings under the Public Services Act 2020 and see what other agencies have released.

At the end of this document, you can find out how to make a submission and get involved in each stage of consultation.

The proposed Long-term Insights Briefing

DOC and Toitū Te Whenua are excited to be developing a joint Long-term Insights Briefing. Both agencies work together and across government to support national biodiversity and related biosecurity priorities, policies, and strategies. Both organisations have roles in and responsibilities for the long-term protection of Aotearoa New Zealand’s biodiversity.

Biodiversity and the natural environment are important to Aotearoa New Zealand. We face many challenges and will only experience more in the future, such as the effects of climate change, introduced and invasive pest species and unsustainable use of natural resources.

In 2020, the government released Te Mana o te Taiao – Aotearoa New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy. This new strategy sets out the vision we want to achieve for nature by 2050: te mauri hikahika o te taiao – the life force of nature is vibrant and vigorous. Te Mana o te Taiao provides guidance for all of those with a role in biodiversity to help achieve this vision.

The vision of Te Mana o te Taiao is ambitious, and we will need to be innovative to achieve it. We have some tools to help control introduced and invasive pest species, such as toxins and traps. However, these methods are relatively costly and are challenging to apply to pest populations on very large scales or in very remote areas.

Advances in information and technology have created new and exciting opportunities for us to help look after our biodiversity in different and complementary ways. For example, we can now use satellite imagery to map biodiversity across landscapes, and artificial intelligence to help detect any last remaining pests following predator control activities.

Government, industry, and communities at an international, national and local scale are already using innovative tools and methods to locate and measure threats to biodiversity and analyse and report on changes, but new information and emerging technology innovation in information could make our efforts cheaper and more effective.

For example, the use of drones has made it possible to gather information on areas that previously were difficult to monitor. As DOC and Toitū Te Whenua develop the Long-term Insights Briefing, we will keep in mind other ongoing initiatives and international approaches that are part of the conversation on the future of biodiversity.

Innovative use of information and emerging technology

It is becoming increasingly important that we leverage information and emerging technologies to work together in new ways. The topic of the proposed Long-term Insights Briefing is: How can innovation in the way we use information and emerging technology help biodiversity thrive?

A focus on two areas that have the potential to be particularly transformative will help DOC and Toitū Te Whenua to explore the topic question:

  • new and improved information
  • the use of biotechnology.

With numerous examples of emerging information and technologies being developed and used internationally, this Long-term Insights Briefing is a great opportunity to have a conversation around how such developments could look in the context of Aotearoa New Zealand.

We will also consider the ways in which social innovation, such as citizen science, can play a role and help us make the most of the opportunities in information and emerging technologies.

New and improved information

Information improves our ability to identify and respond to the challenges that biodiversity is facing. As the uses of information evolve, there will be more tools we can use to produce data that is better quality, more accessible and integrated (linked with other data).

We have the opportunity now to think about what types of new data we want, how we want to use new and existing data, and what types of tools might help us to get it. For example, citizen-science is an emerging source of data built by using the public to help gather and analyse environmental information, this has the potential to provide a larger data set gathered from more places and more frequently than that available through conventional data gathering methods.

More information and examples of emerging information.

The use of biotechnology for conservation

Biotechnology includes a wide range of techniques and technologies using biological systems. These include looking for genetic markers of desirable traits in plant and animal species for breeding programmes (including to help build disease resistance), genome sequencing, and developing approaches such as surveillance and monitoring using environmental DNA, and gene editing.

Biotechnology has the potential to help us detect and measure biodiversity, manage invasive species, build resistance to climate extremes, and reduce chemical use. Using biotechnology can realise environmental benefits faster, with reduced financial costs and human effort required.

More information on biotechnology.

Everyone has a role to play in helping biodiversity thrive

Te Mana o te Taiao acknowledges that everyone who lives in, or visits Aotearoa New Zealand has a part to play in helping to restore the mauri (life force) of nature for our future generations. Tangata whenua have a special and critical role in nurturing and enhancing biodiversity.

Other groups, including central government, local government, industry, NGOs and scientists through to landowners, the broader community, recreational groups such as those for hunting and fishing, and individuals can all contribute to this future in diverse ways.

Your feedback

Your feedback will help shape the Long-term insights briefing. DOC and Toitū Te Whenua propose the topic: How can innovation in the way we use information and emerging technology help biodiversity thrive?

Please answer the following questions:

  1. Do you agree that the Long-term Insights Briefing should focus on new and improved information and biotechnology to find ways to care for Aotearoa New Zealand’s biodiversity in the future? Why or why not?
  2. Are there any parts of information or biotechnology that you think need to be covered in the Long-term Insights Briefing? This can include applications in other sectors and disciplines, international approaches, social innovation, and any unintended consequences.
  3. How can we make sure we include other forms of expertise when making decisions about the use of information and biotechnology? Examples include mātauranga Māori social science and citizen science?
  4. What else should DOC and Toitū Te Whenua consider?
  5. Are there any topics you would like the Department of Conservation or Toitū Te Whenua to consider for future briefings?

How to send us your thoughts

Submissions must be lodged by 5 pm on Friday 12 November 2021 and can be:

Privacy

Please be aware that any submission you make will become public information, and anyone can ask for a copy of all submissions under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). The OIA states that the information must be made available unless there is a good reason for withholding it.  See these parts of the OIA:

If you think there are grounds for withholding specific information in your submission, please let us know. Possible reasons include the information being commercially sensitive or personal. Any decision made to withhold information can be reviewed by the Ombudsman, who may require the information to be released.

Next steps

Combined feedback will be published on both the DOC and Toitū Te Whenua websites. This reflects DOC and Toitū Te Whenua commitment to maintaining transparency and accountability throughout the Long-term Insights Briefing process.

DOC and Toitū Te Whenua will use your feedback from this consultation to draft the Long-term Insights Briefing. Consultation will open again before the Long-term Insights Briefing is finalised in early 2022, to make sure that your feedback has been included correctly where appropriate. Once finalised the document will be presented to Parliament.

Glossary of terms used on this page

Glossary of te reo Māori terms

Mauri

The life force or vital essence of a both an individual or a community which may be made up of people who are existing together, or a forest system made up of multiple species. The mauri is the collective spirit of a community or forest.

Mātauranga Māori

Māori knowledge; the body of knowledge originating from Māori ancestors, including the Māori world view and perspectives, Māori creativity, and cultural practices.

Tangata whenua

People of the land.

Te mana o te taiao

The prestige, authority, control or personal charisma of the living environment.

Te taiao

Natural world, environment, nature.

Whenua

Land.

Glossary of technical terms

Biodiversity

Biological diversity, means the variability among living organisms from all sources, including land, marine and freshwater ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are a part; this includes diversity within species (including genetic diversity) between species and of ecosystems (based on the definition of the Convention on Biological Diversity).

Biosecurity

The exclusion, eradication or management of pests and diseases that pose a risk to the economy, environment, or cultural or social values, including human health.

Biotechnology

Technologies that use biological systems, living organisms or parts of them to develop or create different products.

Citizen Science

Scientific research conducted through public participation and collaboration, usually by collecting and sharing data. An example of citizen science is the Great Kererū Count, where New Zealanders report sightings of kererū, contributing to data on their abundance and distribution.

Climate change

Changes in global or regional climate patterns that are evident over an extended period (typically decades or longer). May be due to natural factors or human activities.

Conservation

‘The preservation and protection of natural and historic resources for the purpose of maintaining their intrinsic values, providing for their appreciation and recreational enjoyment by the public, and safeguarding the options of future generations’ (Conservation Act 1987).

Data

Factual information (such as measurements or statistics) used as a basis for reasoning, discussion, or calculation.

Drone

Aircraft of any size that operate without a pilot, crew or passengers on board. They can be remotely piloted or fly autonomously. Also known as an unmanned aerial vehicle.

Emerging technology

Generally used to describe a new technology where its development or practical application are not fully realised. It may also refer to the continuing development of an existing technology.

Gene editing

The manipulation of the genetic material of a living organism by insertion, deletion or replacement of genetic material called DNA.

Information

Knowledge obtained from investigation, analysis or study. This term is sometimes used interchangeable with “data”.

Innovation

A new method, idea, device or product.

Invasive species

Non-indigenous species whose introduction or spread threatens biodiversity, food security, and/or human health and wellbeing.

Nature

A holistic term that encompasses the living environment (te taiao) – such as all living organisms and the ecological processes that sustain them. By this definition, people are a key part of nature.

This strategy uses the term ‘biodiversity’ to refer to biological diversity and ‘nature’ when considering the wider processes, functions and connections of the natural environment, of which biodiversity is a part.

Predator

An organism that feeds on another living organism (its prey).

Protection

Looking after biodiversity in the long term. This involves managing all threats to secure species from extinction and ensuring that their populations are buffered from the impacts of the loss of genetic diversity and longer-term environmental events such as climate change.

This includes, but is not restricted to, legal protection.

Restore

The active intervention and management of modified or degraded habitats, ecosystems, landforms and landscapes in order to reinstate indigenous natural character, ecological and physical processes, and cultural and visual qualities.

Species

A group of living organisms consisting of similar individuals capable of freely exchanging genes or interbreeding. In this strategy, the term ‘species’ also includes subspecies and varieties.

Sustainable

The use of components of biological diversity in a way and at a rate that does not lead to the long-term decline of biological diversity, thereby maintaining its potential to meet the needs and aspirations of present and future generations’ (Convention on Biological Diversity).

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