MVP Sustainability Map
GDP Per Capita
Michal Klajban; License CC BY-SA 4.0; Image https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Red-billed_gull_colony%2C_Kaikōura%2C_New_Zealand_08.jpg via Wikimedia Commons.
James Choi; License CC BY 2.0; Image https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Milford_Beach_Auckland.jpg via Wikimedia Commons.
New Zealand's population and consumption level is below the carrying capacity of the country’s natural resources. The country has also maintained a below replacement total fertility rate for four decades. As a result, the population growth rate is slowing and may reverse some day which should benefit nature.
In 2019 The Guardian reported that while New Zealand is famous for its birdlife, dozens of native species are now endangered thanks to introduced predators such as rats and stoats. Intensive farming practices are destroying the once pristine and potable water in rivers and lakes. Fertilizers and animal manure from the country’s 27 million sheep and 10 million cattle are making waterways toxic and unswimmable due to high levels of bacteria such as E coli and frequent algal blooms, among other issues.
Dozens of native fish species are also under threat of extinction from nitrogen and phosphorus, but it is not just farming practices that are to blame for the decline of water quality. Increasing rates of urbanisation have put pressure on ageing sewerage systems, and stormwater infrastructure regularly gets overwhelmed, resulting in fecal contamination and regular closures of popular Auckland beaches.(1)