Valuing the Hauraki Gulf: An ecosystem services and natural capital approach
July 24, 2023
The Hauraki Gulf Forum commissioned NZIER economists Peter Clough, Michael Bealing and Ting Huang to provide a top-down assessment of the Gulf’s natural capital using a Total Economic Value framework and an Ecosystem Services approach.
The aim of this research was to estimate the economic value provided by the Hauraki Gulf’s functioning natural ecosystems, which is informative for a range of assessments about how to consume, manage, conserve and protect the natural environment. It is designed to counter the risk that marine ecosystems are undervalued in decisions simply because their environmental damage has been inadequately recorded and actual value has not been sufficiently quantified.
The ecosystem services associated with the Hauraki Gulf have an estimated total economic value of $5.14 billion per year, of which $1.75 billion are explicitly measured in GDP and $3.39 billion are values not measured in GDP, such as avoided costs and expressions of public preference for activities like recreation in water of suitable quality. The estimates of some potential value sources are incomplete given current data limitations, so the overall estimate is likely to understate the total economic value of the Gulf’s ecosystem services.