Plans to protect New Zealand's biodiversity is about to get a radical rethink, with Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage announcing work is about to begin on a new biodiversity strategy.
The current biodiversity strategy will expire in 2020, and Sage said the new one will have to account for issues such as climate change, which were not accounted for in the old strategy.
"There have been issues, it needed to be updated to take into account a change of climate, the increased pressures that will put on our indigenous species.
"[With the current strategy] it isn't easy to monitor its implementation.
"We need to co-ordinate the players in the space more, so everyone is working in partnership and in a similar direction."
She said the Biodiversity Strategy 2000 increased interest and support for protection of our indigenous wildlife.
"It was a major collaborative effort by government agencies, in this strategy I want to see it co-designed along with iwi and hapū an with strong public input."
The announcement was made at Ahuriri Estuary, the most significant estuarine environment on the East Coast.
The minister met with Te Komiti Muriwai o Te Whanga, the group which looks after Ahuriri Estuary, which Sage said was a really exciting initiative.
"It's been described to me as Mana Whenua inviting the councils to the table, and having a much more collaborative process around the Ahuriri Estuary.
"The efforts to restore the health of the Estuary will have an impact upstream."
Hawke's Bay Regional Council's representative on Te Komiti, Neil Kirton, said the estuary was at a tipping point when it came to its health.
"The in-water environment is very significantly compromised," he said.
"That has the impact of affecting something like 27 species of fish."
He said commercial farming and the incursion of residential housing was a significant danger to birdlife in the area.
"It relies on the estuary," he said.
He said Te Komiti has to be taken seriously by councils in the area as it has a legislative base to it.
"The protectors of the estuary, Mana Ahuriri, now have a serious mandate to ensure its protection."
Sage said the biggest issues facing biodiversity in New Zealand were introduced predators and the transformation of land for urban development and farming.
"We have a predator crisis, particularly our bird species, our lizards, our invertebrates, evolved over 80 million years without having mammalian predators.
"It's the impact of possums, rats, stoats, ferrets.
"We have seen over years an increased interest and more practical protection, more predator control groups, planting groups and the like.
"The new strategy I think will provide a platform for even more commitment for restoring our very distinctive indigenous biodiversity."
She said there will be lots of opportunities for the public to be involved in formulating the new strategy.
"There will be many opportunities for input with regional hui, discussions, social media conversations and website submissions."
She said the strategy would recognise the value of important introduced species for primary industries and for hunting and fishing.