NZ has a tradition of encouraging home ownership, seen as a buffer against poverty and providing security and a high quality of life for families.
‘’When you dispossess people of their land, regardless of the colour of their skin, it drops those people into poverty’ (West Coast iwi)
Core values, our democracy and our sovereignty are now under threat as New Zealand politicians prefer to apply an ideology sponsored by the United Nations bureaucracy and associated interest groups rather than to be guided by the wishes, needs and values of New Zealanders.
There is a concerted move in New Zealand to:
- Undermine private land ownership
- Encourage or enforce high density living
- Prioritise ‘rewilding’ over human welfare
- Change our way of life for the worse
Almost 30% of sparsely-populated New Zealand is reserve Crown land. This does not include the Te Urewera forest, formerly the North Island’s largest national park, or the many reserves managed by local authorities. A third of New Zealand is covered in forest, most of this native bush. In addition there are scraps of bush on suburban sections, and large stands on farms, with more and more farmers planting to combat erosion. Over 40% of land is in pasture. Home gardens are parks in themselves providing food and living space for birds, bugs and human beings – native fauna appreciate New Zealand gardens with their flowers and trees.
There is no indication that the majority of New Zealanders want a dramatic increase in reserve land at the expense of private property, or a change to policies on compulsory acquisition, which so far has been used only to enable major public works.
Government and local authorities are launching a full-frontal attack on long-established policy, private property rights and the New Zealand way of life.
- Local authorities have instituted a policy of claiming rights over private property in the interest of biodiversity (Significant Natural Areas or SNAs). Regional councils are falsely claiming authority from the RMA, and the policy is informed by sources which are not revealed.
- The government has now introduced measures to legitimise SNAs and further facilitate control or acquisition of private land in the name of biodiversity, in the form of the proposed National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity and the proposed Biodiversity Strategy.
- The Urban Development Bill gives local authorities sweeping powers to enforce the acquisition of private urban land on behalf of developers.
- The government has signed the UN Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration whose manifest purpose is to facilitate unchecked migration. Mass immigration will justify high density urbanisation and the egregious provisions of the Urban Development Bill, and is likely to undermine the culture of home ownership.
- The new measures introduced by government repeatedly flag a greater say by iwi on (non-Maori) private property, though without details.
- Authorities are flagging zoning decisions to be made on ludicrous claims of dramatic sea rise.
New Zealand authorities, at both local and government level, are putting in place a series of measures that constitute a concerted attack on private property, and which taken together will ensure that nobody can feel secure in their own home.
There is an ideological commitment to restore as much of New Zealand as possible to its assumed original state, and to push human beings into as small a space as possible. A number of serious philosophical issues arise with regard to these intentions:
- Biodiversity is considered to trump human rights and human happiness, always.
- Respect for the intrinsic value of private property is being undermined.
- There has been no proper discussion about whether New Zealanders are on board with a dramatic reallocation of land use, or whether instead they support former policies of ongoing environmental improvements.
- The public is being misled about both the legal framework for what is being done, and also the ultimate goals.
- The contribution to biodiversity of private property in the form of home gardens and farmland, and the positive nature of past environmental policies are undervalued or distorted.
A feature of the process is its opacity: the Significant Natural Areas policies of local authorities, which established the precedent of taking control of private land for reserves, is NOT justified by the Reserve Management Act, as claimed by the Regional Councils. The closest one gets to legal justification is the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity (see below, ‘The Role of the United Nations’).
Significant Natural Areas (SNAs)
‘Nobody owns property’ (Jill Day, former Deputy Mayor of Wellington, NZ)
The Significant Natural Area policies of local authorities claim authority from the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) which requires councils to maintain and protect indigenous biodiversity. The provisions of the act are being used to drive SNA designations on private property in both urban and rural areas.
To achieve our biodiversity goals, we will aim to protect the ecologically significant areas on both private and public land.
The SNAs are areas selected from aerial photography to form protected pockets of land, ignoring boundaries, with the intention of rewilding them, and with implications for private land rights. There are over 160 land areas in Wellington city itself that meet the criteria, only about half of which are on Council land, and 1700 property owners are affected (from Council website Backyard Taonga). A map of the designated areas can be seen here.
The intention of Wellington City Council is to create, not protect, rewilding areas at the expense of private property and building options.
The council has set out to create as many SNAs as possible regardless of quality, choosing any spaces between houses which add up to the the minimum size of 0.5 hectares, whether they be covered in gorse or scrub or pine or agapanthus or regenerating bush, camellia hedges, possibly even lawn and garden beds.
It is abundantly clear that the SNA policy is designed not to protect significant natural areas, but to create them, in an urban area that already has substantial bush reserves.
One designated SNA in Khandallah consists of some back gardens and at least one developed building site, where building has been delayed so it is now overgrown with blackberry and other low-grade vegetation – no council reserve is involved. Exotic garden shrubbery is also incorporated. Discussion with affected owners has revealed other properties where plans to develop or subdivide are now in question.
The SNAs are intended to be open-ended:
We will restore these areas, create safe buffer zones around them and connect them together.
All areas are to have buffer zones, then, not just to function as such but to allow expansion, as the buffers themselves become part of the ‘significant biodiversity area’. The corridors, too, could expand in the same manner.
One of the qualifying features for an SNA is that sites ’connect ecosystems or habitats for rare indigenous species‘ – potentially every tree in Wellington. Protected native birds such as tuis, fantails and even wood pigeons are abundant in Wellington, liking both native and exotic vegetation, bush and gardens. There wouldn’t be a scrap of bush, in some areas hardly a tree, native or exotic, that doesn’t see a tui at some time. The American experience is that it only takes a single sighting of a protected bird or animal, even when it has clearly strayed from a nearby reserve, to halt all development (see ‘Agenda 21: a Plan to Take Your Land and Give it To Tortoises and Pagosa Skyrockets’).
The SNAs are to be offset by high-density human habitat. In parallel with expanding protected areas Wellington City Council claims a shortage of land for housing. The Council has a policy of Smart Growth, which translates as a ‘vibrant’, compact city, to be achieved by an ever-increasing number of apartment buildings, leading inevitably to the eventual destruction of our suburbs as we know them. Child-friendly cafes rather than backyards are portrayed as meeting the needs of the modern family.
As suburban gardens are progressively destroyed, and bushy banks bulldozed, native birds will be forced away from homes and into the SNAs, which will become a self-fulfilling prophesy.
A further issue that needs clarification is that by coming under the RMA, there could be a requirement to consult iwi for those affected by the SNAs and wishing to even build a shed – this can entail further costs and frustration.
The West Coast
After a Department of Conservation appeal to the Environment Court in 2012, the West Coast Regional Council was ordered to add a further 215 schedule 2 wetlands to its Soil and Water Plan. It is estimated about 5000ha of wetlands on private land are affected, with landowners required to pay for ecological assessments to see if the land qualifies for full protection under schedule 1. The government is refusing to pay compensation.
West Coaster Tony Barrett has seen 70% of his 607-hectare block designated as an SNA. Much of the land is now undeveloped, having a history of passing from its original bush-clad state, to being cleared, dug over and mined for gold, then left to gorse and scrub, which has provided host to regenerating bush. The SNA designation means that Barrett or subsequent owners ‘would need resource management consent from the Department of Conservation to fell trees, run stock, convert to dairy and possibly to pick moss’ (DomPost, Wednesday, February 19, 2020).
There is an expectation that West Coast residents will be particularly hard hit when the government strengthens SNA provisions (see below, ‘Proposed National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity’).
Are SNAs legal?
SNAs represent an hitherto unseen assault on private property rights, which has not been discussed and approved by the public, and whose legality is questionable. There is now a convention, promoted by councils and environmental agencies, that the SNAs are based on the RMA, that the Act requires that councils take control of private land to protect (and restore) biodiversity. For example:
‘The Resource Management Act 1991 places obligations on local authorities to protect and maintain indigenous biodiversity on land in private tenure. However, how this should be done is not explicitly prescribed. Authorities are guided by a variety of means (e.g. ecological guidance and case law), and implement their responsibilities to varying degrees and with inconsistent success.’ (Advances in the identification and assessment of ecologically significant habitats in two areas of contrasting biodiversity loss in New Zealand)
Likewise email correspondence from both the GWRC and the environmental NGO Forest & Bird confirms that their SNA policies rely on the RMA. ‘RMA Section 6(c) directs councils (under sections 30 and 31) to protect significant biodiversity within their jurisdictions’ (GWRC); ‘Section 6(c) of the RMA places a responsibility on Councils to protect “areas of significant indigenous vegetation and significant habitats of indigenous fauna” as a matter of “national importance” – these areas are usually referred to as “significant natural areas” (SNAs) in District Plans’ (Forest & Bird) .
SNA Policies are NOT based on the cited provisions of the RMA
Section 6 of the Resource Management Act, Matters of national importance states:
In achieving the purpose of this Act, all persons exercising functions and
powers under it, in relation to managing the use, development, and protection
of natural and physical resources, shall recognise and provide for the following
matters of national importance:
(c) the protection of areas of significant indigenous vegetation and significant
habitats of indigenous fauna:
Not mentioned by either correspondent but affecting not only the West Coast but landowners in the Wellington Region is 6 (a):
(a) the preservation of the natural character of the coastal environment
(including the coastal marine area), wetlands, and lakes and rivers and
their margins, and the protection of them from inappropriate subdivision,
use, and development:
Section 5 of The Resource Management Act, Purpose and principles, states:
(1) The purpose of this Act is to promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources.
(2) In this Act, sustainable management means managing the use, development, and protection of natural and physical resources in a way, or at a rate, which enables people and communities to provide for their social, economic, and cultural well-being and for their health and safety while—
(a) sustaining the potential of natural and physical resources (excluding minerals) to meet the reasonably foreseeable needs of future generations; and
(b) safeguarding the life-supporting capacity of air, water, soil, and ecosystems; and
(c) avoiding, remedying, or mitigating any adverse effects of activities on the environment.
There is nothing in the act which provides that ‘biodiversity’ should trump human rights and human welfare. The RMA provides for the protection of outstanding natural features and landscapes, of areas of significant indigenous vegetation and of significant habitats, while acknowledging the importance of the social, economic, and cultural well-being of people and their communities. The RMA makes it clear that while all efforts should be made to protect the environment, protect endangered species and preserve significant natural areas, the welfare of people and communities should come first.
The only reference to private land in the RMA is to to protect it with regard to heritage orders, eg:
189 (1A) (1A) However, a heritage protection authority that is a body corporate approved under section 188 must not give notice of a requirement for a heritage order in respect of any place or area of land that is private land.
No provision in the RMA authorises the claiming for rewilding of gorseland, building sites, agapanthus or rhododendron shrubbery on private land.
The Proposed National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity (NPSIB)
The NZ inspiration for the GWRC’s Policy Statement appears to be the Proposed National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity (2011), which has no legal effect: it was announced by the Minister for the Environment in early 2011, but ‘was not progressed due to a lack of stakeholder agreement on its content […]’
The statement recommended:
- the retention of as many ‘elements’ as possible
- the retention of existing vegetation, whether indigenous or not (but not including recognised pest plants), that provides habitat for indigenous species or seasonal food sources for indigenous species (i.e. every tree in Wellington)
- buffer zones
- corridors (‘ecological linkage’)
- ways to address the problem of private property.
The proposal was developed by the Biodiversity Collaborative Group, an environmentalist lobby group whose core members are all non-government organisations.
That proposal may have been rejected, but now an updated version has been presented for consideration. The new National Policy Statement for Biological Diversity is intended to legitimise and strengthen the SNA policies of local authorities, which have no authority under existing legislation. Like the SNAs and the failed NPSIB of 2011, the revamped NPSIB seeks to establish a policy of ever-increasing protected areas as the expensive of private homes.
‘The proposed NPSIB provides direction to councils on their responsibilities for protecting and maintaining indigenous biodiversity under the RMA.
‘The primary objective of the proposed NPSIB is to maintain indigenous biodiversity (Part 1.7(2) and (3) and Part 2.1 Objective 1 of the proposed NPSIB). Maintaining indigenous biodiversity requires, at the least, no reduction in:
a. the size of populations of indigenous species
b. indigenous species occupancy across their natural range
c. the properties and function of ecosystems and habitats
d. the full range and extent of ecosystems and habitats
e. connectivity between, and buffering around, ecosystems
f. the resilience and adaptability of ecosystems.’
The objective, however, is not preservation of biodiversity but restoration as far as possible to what is assumed to be the original state.
‘Native forests once covered about 80 per cent of New Zealand’s land area. About 65 per cent of our original native forest has been removed […]. Reversing the decline of indigenous biodiversity in Aotearoa New Zealand is a long-term policy objective.’ (p.12)
Again, the proposal repeatedly insists on the legal right of authorities to encroach on private land; again, it claims authority from the RMA:
‘The RMA is the key piece of legislation for managing New Zealand’s indigenous biodiversity outside public conservation land, including on private land’
Again, the proposal cites no authority from within the RMA. ‘The RMA’s key provisions recognising biodiversity are outlined on the following page .’ These key provisions contain no reference to private land.
The Biodiversity Strategy
New Zealand’s Department of Conservation has produced a draft Biodiversity Strategy, which is a national strategy applying the same principles as the regionally based SNAs, and very similar in scope to the NPSIB. The strategy demands the ongoing expansion of reserved land and/or land zoned for rewilding: this will be achieved by increased ‘tools’ (regulations) to facilitate taking of private land or limiting the use of private land.
DOC’s vision for New Zealand by 2070
‘Our species, habitats and ecosystems (especially those that are currently rare
and threatened) are increasing, not declining, in number and extent, across
private as well as public land and in the sea’
Expansion of biodiversity areas – restoring biodiversity
The strategy aims to ‘restore biodiversity’ (p. 20), without defining what is meant by this goal decision. At the extreme, of course, all human inhabitants would depart, leaving New Zealand to revert to the avian paradise it once was. The Agenda 21 compromise is penning human beings in high-density cities, leaving most of the country zoned for ‘biodiversity’.
What is planned is ‘a complete network of biodiversity hubs across New Zealand […]. As with the SNAs, these will be connected by corridors: ‘Eco systems will be connected from the mountain tops to the ocean depths’. The hubs will be protected by buffer zones to allow expansion.
The Strategy reiterates the need for the government to have access to private land:
Biodiversity is core to all decisions about land and water management, including on private land’; ‘private landowners […] are a crucial part of the system’; ‘Implement a consistent national approach to rates relief for covenanted and other protected private land’.
The end of suburbs and small towns as we know them
The draft emphasises the New Zealand love of ‘nature’: ‘Nature in Aotearoa is healthy, abundant, and thriving. Current and future generations connect with nature, restore it and are restored by it.’ While there is a comprehensive list of outdoor activities such as sport and tramping, a notable omission is the home garden, though this provides the greatest access to nature for New Zealanders over their lifetime. The words ‘garden’ and ‘suburb’ occur neither in the Biodiversity Strategy nor the Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity. New Zealand is described in the Strategy as an urbanised society:
New Zealand is one of the most urbanised countries in the world. There is significant opportunity to restore nature in cities and integrate it into urban planning, which will, in turn, help reconnect urban dwellers with nature. P. 52
This falsely conveys an impression of a people living in high density cities like Singapore, nothing like New Zealand cities with their preponderance of single-use dwellings and private yards.
The language and goals of the draft Strategy echo those of the American Wildlands Project, which aims to turn 50% of the United States into reserve land largely off-limits for human beings, connected by corridors to allow bison to roam the continent, and with large buffer zones (exposure of the Wildlands Project led to the United States refusing to ratify the Convention on Biological Diversity).
Department of Conservation Empire Building
Biodiversity should be ‘core to all decisions about land and water management’. To enforce this, and to facilitate taking or imposing restrictions on private land, more powers need to be given to local and central government. There are repeated references to the need for improved ‘legal and regulatory frameworks’ .
‘A mix of regulatory and non-regulatory tools should be used to achieve the best outcome, recognising that incentives, regulatory guidance and backstops are important elements of an effective response.’ (p. 29)
As a consequence the Department of Conservation will be involved in all decisions involving land and water use.
The Urban Development Bill
‘Objective of Bill is to better co-ordinate use of land, infrastructure, and public assets
to maximise public benefit from complex urban development projects’
In the past private property in New Zealand has only been seized for essential public works such as roading. The Urban Development Bill gives the housing authority Kāinga Ora sweeping powers to force the acquisition of private property on behalf of developers.
‘Kāinga Ora will have land acquisition and transfer powers when undertaking any urban development […] The Bill has safeguards in place to ensure that the use of land acquisition powers strikes an appropriate balance between the need to meet urban development outcomes and the need to maintain certainty of property rights.’
Under this legislation, anyone with a home and garden is vulnerable and insecure. In America, authorities can come to arrangements with developers, whereby property owners are forced to sell out and make way for private economic development when officials decide it would benefit the public, even if the property is not blighted and the new project’s success is not guaranteed. This will certainly happen in New Zealand if government measures to undermine land rights are permitted to proceed. See Kelo v. City of New London Ten Years Later
‘Climate Change’ and The Threat to Coastal Development Property Rights
‘Draconian policy […] is destroying coastal communities on the back of projections which are basically lies.‘ (Mark Windows, Sea Level Expert V Climate Lies Destroying Communities, 0:10)
The most reliable sea rise gauges world-wide indicate an average global rise of 1-2mm per annum, and not accelerating. See, for example, Wismar, Germany data, that shows a long-term trend of 1.4mm with no acceleration; an analysis of the 225 tide stations more than 50 years old, which gave an average of 1.4mm pa; an analysis of the 212 tide gauges with 60 years of recorded data in 2014, of which the most common SLR was +1.25 mm/year in 37 tide gauges. Members of the School of Surveying, Otago University, and GNS NZ found an average annual sea level rise of 0.9 mm over four main NZ centres, once subsidence is taken into account
Coastal property is now under threat of rezoning purely on the basis of extravagant claims of global sea-rise. Dr David Kear, former Director-General of New Zealand’s Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, noted that the Ohope Council declared a landwards inundation at Ohope Beach, contrary to local advice and the conclusions of their own consultants. Kear concluded that councils seem to feel that (unknown) higher authorities insist that they must ignore evidence that supports accretion.
Despite all the factual evidence to the contrary, Wellington local authorities, as well as the corporate media, are projecting sea rise of several metres within a short time: according to one report, the Lower Hutt suburb of Petone could be swallowed up by sea rise in just 80 years.
In the United Kingdom, over 50 villages on the Welsh coast are facing their demise, not because of rising seas, but because of rezoning on the basis of alarmist claims. Not untypical is ‘Some of Wales’ major coastal towns and cities could be underwater in the next 100 years, experts warn’; apparently sea rise ‘could be at least 6 metres’. ‘Experts’ are a consortium of climate scientists and journalists called Climate Central, funded according to Sourcewatch by a number of impressive bodies such as Google, the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, NASA, the Turner Foundation and certainly by the Rockefeller Foundation, founder of the global warming movment. World-renowned sea level authority such as Nils Axel-Mörner has declared the claims to be completely unfounded, and some Welsh villages are suing the UK government over their alarmism.
Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration
The NZ Government is signatory to the UN’s Global Compact on Migration, designed in fact to facilitate migration. The reasons for supporting or opposing the mass movement of people are complex. It should be pointed out, however, that aside from the pressure on housing that is created by a large number of arrivals from overseas, their presence is likely to favour urbanisation and undermine the tradition of home ownership.
‘Many iwi, hapū and whānau have significant aspirations to play a greater role in managing biodiversity on public and private land’. ‘[by 2020] Mana whenua feel that they can genuinely practice their role as kaitiaki [guardianship]’. (Biodiversity Strategy)
In all the proposed legislation – the Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity, the Biodiversity Strategy, Urban Development Bill – the demand for an increasing role for iwi is reiterated time and again, but not explained. It is unclear what the role of kaitiaki entails, whether the proposals flag Maori having a greater say over (non-Maori) private land usage, or its compulsory acquisition, or they are paving the way for the Treaty of Waitangi being amended to cover private land, as has been mooted recently.
The Role of the United Nations
The main focus of Agenda 21 is to take control of the land because once they do that, they can control any human activity (Lucille Femine, Agenda 21 Revealed)
The inspiration for the assault on private property comes not from a movement within New Zealand but from policies developed by the United Nations bureaucracy. At present, the only legal authority for SNAs and the new policies regarding claiming private land for ‘biodiversity’ is the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity 1992.
The Convention on Biological Diversity
Signatory countries, regardless of their different circumstances, agree ‘as far as possible’ to:
(a) Establish a system of protected areas or areas where special measures need to be taken to conserve biological diversity;
(e) Promote environmentally sound and sustainable development in areas adjacent to protected areas with a view to furthering protection of these areas;
(f) Rehabilitate and restore degraded ecosystems and promote the recovery of threatened species;
The Convention thus commits signatory countries to open-ended reversion of private land to its ‘original’ state.
As Michael Coffman (Agenda 21 Wildlands Project) points out, state control over private property has been central to every international treaty since the 1970s. One of the most explicit UN position statements on private land is contained in the Official Report of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements 1976, also known as Habitat 1:
Land, because of its unique nature and the crucial role it plays in human settlements, cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes. Social justice, urban renewal and development, the provision of decent dwellings and healthy conditions for the people can only be achieved if land is used in the interests of society as a whole.
Public control of land use is therefore indispensable to its protection as an asset and the achievement of the long-term objectives of human settlement policies and strategies.
Agenda 21 is a non-binding action plan which was presented for signature, along with the Convention on Biological Diversity, at the Rio Earth Summit 1992. The document Agenda 21 serves as the text for the UN’s Agenda 2030 and its ‘Sustainable Development Goals’. Agenda 21 proposes the expansion of government control over all areas of life, on the basis of the two prongs of environmentalism promoted by the elite foundations, ie ‘biodiversity’ and ‘climate’. Agenda 21 is closely linked to the elite globalist movement, is sponsored by the mega-corporations, and has been referred to variously as Marxist, fascist, totalitarian and Orwellian.
A number of local authority networking platforms have been founded and funded by Rockefeller and other elite foundations specifically for the purpose of promoting Agenda 21, including ICLEI and 100 Resilient Cities, the latter founded by David Rockefeller himself. Because of the threat they present to private landowners, more than half of American states have introduced legislation to the implementation of policies or recommendations emanating from Agenda 21, ICLEI, or even the United Nations, with varying results.
The Way Forward
The establishment of SNAs shows that decisions are already being implemented which are not based on New Zealand legislation and New Zealand values but are guided by undeclared forces. Government measures now seeks to legitimise public control or purchase of private property, which will mean that nobody can feel secure in their own home.
It is clear that the only way to protect traditional private property rights is to pass specific legislation to that end, including amending (or repealing) the RMA.
Consideration should also be given to banning local authority networking platforms such as ICLEI, whose raison d’etre is the promotion of Agenda 21 and the undermining of what New Zealand sees as essential values.
At the very least, there should be proper debate in New Zealand over whether they accept policies that place all non-human nature above humanity, and whether they accept the scenario that native fauna should enjoy unlimited space and unlimited rights while those of human beings must be severely curtailed.