Wellington, Dec 10  The New Zealand government is stepping up its work to address long-standing problems in conservation law to lay the foundation for future reform, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan said on Friday.

“More than 4,000 native species are threatened or at risk of extinction. We are at a defining moment for nature, yet much of our legislation is decades old and not fit for purpose,” Xinhua news agency quoted Allan as saying in a statement.

“It is a complex web of 24 acts, developed largely on an ad-hoc basis over a span of nearly 70 years,” the Minister said.

Allan added that the scientific understanding of species and ecosystems has grown considerably over this time, but this is not reflected in the legislation.

A roadmap will be released that sets out the work ahead in the next four years to modernize New Zealand’s conservation law, Allan said, adding that better legislation will provide the tools to deal with some of the biggest emerging threats to biodiversity — invasive species, climate change, habitat loss, pollution, and fragmentation of landscapes and ecosystems.

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