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Report implementation urgent to salvage Mackenzie Basin

Report implementation urgent to salvage Mackenzie Basin values

The Wise Response Society endorses the recommendations for urgent implementation of the specially commissioned Mackenzie Basin Agency Alignment Report by independent consultants John Hutchings and Hugh Logan.

"Given the pace with which land transformation has taken place recently and the highly interconnected nature of the Mackenzie's unique land- and sky-scape, be it by day or night, there is little time left before some of its remaining natural values and opportunities are gone forever" said Wise Response Chair and tussock grassland ecologist, Sir Alan Mark.

The report emphasises the need for co-ordinated and urgent efforts by the five agencies involved: Environment Canterbury, the Department of Conservation, Land Information NZ, and the two District Councils, Mackenzie and Waitaki.

"This united approach is now essential to ensure adequate representation and protection of the unique features of the dryland indigenous biodiversity and natural landscapes of the Mackenzie Basin for their multiple intrinsic values for our, and particularly future, generations".

"Furthermore, we agree with achieving this urgently through future tenure reviews of pastoral leasehold lands in the basin, or direct government intervention, if necessary".

The recommendation for creation of a Mackenzie Drylands Natural Heritage Area is a critical aspect of this report, essentially rescuing the Drylands Park concept that was a major recommendation of the Mackenzie Agreement of 2013. This decision was reached after a prolonged period of stakeholder consultation.

"At this late stage, from an ecological perspective, serious fragmentation may be inevitable. Crucially, the window is rapidly closing and we won't get a second shot" Sir Alan added.

- Ends -

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