This workshop was organized by Associate Professor David Norton (University of Canterbury) assisted by Mark Pizey (Environmental Manager, Solid Energy NZ), Mark Christensen (lawyer, Anderson Lloyd Caudwell) and Dr Judith Roper-Lindsay (ecologist, Boffa Miskell Ltd and EIANZ Chapter member). David is involved in developing a framework and principles for offsetting in New Zealand (see Solid Energy New Zealand and the Business Biodiversity Offsets Program), while providing offset advice for specific projects; Solid Energy is engaged in one of the Business and Biodiversity Offsets Program (BBOP) pilot projects, while Mark Christensen has acted in a number of planning cases on projects where offsets are proposed.
We were able to time the workshop to coincide with the visit of Kerry ten Kate. She provided a valuable overview of offsetting and the BBOP in particular – especially highlighting the uncertainty around it. A range of invited speakers covered industry, ecological, legal/social/market and perspectives and there was about 90 minutes of strong discussion at the end of the day.
Key points to come from the talks and discussion:
- Biodiversity offsetting is beset with uncertainty – ecological, legal, and financial
- Accepted principles are being developed both globally (through BBOP) and locally (through case law)
- Ecological uncertainty relates to: finding comparable habitats and places; long term ecological outcomes of proposed offsets; thresholds for determining losses that are not offsettable; establishing an agreed system for measuring habitat quality and quantity (in New Zealand); and lack of certainty about current trends in NZ ecosystems.
- Industry concerns relate to: clarity around offsetting requirements under the NZ Resource Management Act; possible need to gain control over proposed offset land; and long term nature of ecological aspects of offsetting proposals.
- Policy/ legal uncertainty relates to: systems to protect and ensure that offsetting proposals are seen through to completion or achievement of objectives; long-term funding of proposals; lack of a nationally agreed system, framework, or set of principles; and new market opportunities.
Presentations Powerpoints available as PDF
- Biodiversity Offsets and Public Conservation Lands, Dean van Mierlo
- Political science predictions for Biodiversity offsets policy in New Zealand, Ann Brower
- Can offsets deliver better biodiversity outcomes in New Zealand, Bill Lee
- Use of Biodiversity Offsets - Enhancement in Renewable Energy Approval Process, Chris Evans
- The market perspective - TZ1 Registry, Joanna Silver
- From Beautification to Offsetting: Twenty years of Industry Investment in Biodiversity, Greg Slaughter
- Ecological attributes and Biodiversity Offsets: Assessing significance and offsetting loss of aquatic habitat, Ian Boothroyd
- Biodiversity Markets - Alternatives to Ad Hoc Offsets, Suzie Greenhalgh
- Kerry ten Kate - The Case for Biodiversity Offsets (download PDF presentation)
- Biodiversity Offsets - Where 2 minus 1 can equal or even more, Kevin Hackwell
- The Project River Recovery experience - Lessons for biodiversity offsetting, Mark Sanders