‘Significant Natural Areas’ (SNAs) are an illegal policy vigorously promoted by Forest & Bird, and being implemented by local authorities in urban and rural parts of New Zealand. The policy declares that any green areas on private land, regardless of cover – whether gorse, garden shrubbery, pine or scrub – can be declared as protected land with corresponding loss of property rights.
In a country with ample reserves and forest throughout the country, even in the major cities, SNAs aim to replace suburban gardens with areas for rewilding. The assumption is that backyards, though enjoyed by birds, bugs, bees and humanity, old and young alike, have no intrinsic value to man or beast.
Local councils insist that SNAs are based on the Resource Management Act, specifically 6c, which says:
‘all persons exercising functions and powers under [this act …], 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’
Nothing in section 6 or anywhere in the RMA authorises the placing of protection orders on private suburban land. Indeed, the RMA makes it clear that human rights, welfare and happiness do have a value.
(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— […] (c) avoiding, remedying, or mitigating any adverse effects of activities on the environment.
The SNAs are now to be given legitimacy by several legislative measures – the National Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity (NSIB), the Biodiversity Strategy, and the Urban Development Bill. Taken together, these measures will drastically undermine private property rights. The measures aim to:
- Replace private land with areas for rewilding;
- Enable the compulsory acquisition of private land for development (Urban Development Bill);
- Place biodiversity as a paramount value, so that the most common native weed or animal in NZ has greater rights than humanity, always;
- Restrict options for development and facilitate high-density living in New Zealand.
The policies do not derive from formalised NZ policy but are purely ideological. They are based on the UN’s Agenda 21, now referred to as ‘sustainable development’, ‘smart growth’ etc. Long established UN policies include the elimination of private land, urbanisation, open-ended rewilding, and depopulation.
For more detail, see: