The Department of Conservation (DOC) and Genesis Energy today signed a $2.5 million business partnership that will help secure the future of New Zealand’s rare endangered whio (blue duck).
The whio – the native duck featured on the $10 note – is only found in clean, fast-flowing rivers and stream. It is seen as an indicator species and an icon for the environmental health of New Zealand’s back country waterways.
DOC Director-General Al Morrison said development of the $2.5 million partnership was a team effort between Genesis Energy and DOC, initiated by DOC’s Whio Recovery Team and led by DOC’s Commercial Business Unit (CBU). It will see DOC and Genesis Energy work together over the next five years to double the number of secure whio breeding sites across the country.
He says the partnership will help secure the future of whio, and reflects a growing recognition that investing in conservation is good for business.
“Genesis Energy understands the true value of the native bird on our $10 note – a healthy whio population indicates a healthy river, which assists in sustainable power generation. It’s a classic case of looking after your business by looking after the environment.
“This is exactly why we set up the CBU – to engage with forward-thinking businesses that can see the real value of protecting New Zealand’s environment. It’s good for conservation, and it’s an area we’re determined to build on,” Mr Morrison said.
Genesis Energy Chief Executive Albert Brantley said that the partnership was a natural progression from the close relationship Genesis Energy had built over the past eight years with the whio recovery programme in the Tongariro area, developed initially as a mitigation measure for the Tongariro Power Scheme.
“Good business is about looking at the future, not just the implications of today. As such, partnering with the communities in which we operate to help secure a positive future is a principle central to how we conduct business at Genesis Energy.
“Sustainable business is not just a catch-phrase or a one-off. It’s about aligning your business to long-term projects and behaviour that will ensure that we will continue to enjoy the support of our communities and value of our environment, not just now but, well into the future.” Mr Brantley said.
The Genesis Energy Whio Recovery Programme partnership will fund a five-year management programme for whio. It will enable the implementation of a national recovery plan that will double the number of fully operational secure whio breeding sites throughout the country, and boost pest control efforts.