Provision of New Zealand's native biodiversity: where to from here?
Many of New Zealand's native species are threatened or endangered. The Department of Conservation is the major provider of native biodiversity, and its approach focuses on the preservation and protection of native species. The Department faces a limited budget and has to make difficult decisions about the allocation of base resources and management services. There is evidence to suggest, however, that the Department may not always produce the most effective outcomes from its investments because it attempts to preserve all of New Zealand's native biodiversity. Conversely, the private sector may only invest in native biodiversity from which it can appropriate a value and consequently a return that satisfies the needs of the investor. This research paper considers whether private sector initiatives could be used as an alternative to the public sector's provision of native biodiversity in New Zealand. It is argued that the private sector could complement, but not substitute, the provision of native biodiversity by the public sector. The methodology for this research is separated into five steps. First, the paper examines the present state of native biodiversity in New Zealand. Second, is an investigation of the possible causes of the decline and loss of native biodiversity. Third, private sector initiatives to obtain investment from the private sector for the provision of native biodiversity are used to illustrate how economic approaches can increase the value of native biodiversity. The final step is to apply economic approaches to the provision of native biodiversity in New Zealand for a case study of the Kiwi. An important aspect of this research is how the provision of native biodiversity relates to the possible causes of the decline and loss of native biodiversity. Rational selection is identified as the key cause of the decline and loss of native biodiversity and it is based on economic choices that determine the human environmental portfolio. If economic choices can lead to disinvestment in a native species then addressing the economic reasons for those choices may lead to investment in native species: Finally, the potential implications of this research for the future direction for provision of native biodiversity in New Zealand are discussed in the conclusion. The suggested direction includes potential changes to legislation, to the approach of native biodiversity provision, public attitudes, and potential role changes for the Department of Conservation.... [Show full abstract]