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50% of New Zealand held back by DoC

50% of New Zealand held back by DoC

New Zealand will struggle to climb the OECD rankings while 50% of its natural resources are tied up in an expanding and inadequately managed conservation estate, says a new report issued by the Centre for Resource Management Studies.

DoC now administers half of New Zealand’s land area, greater than the size of Switzerland, without taking into account economic and social values or the national interest.

The report says a review and overhaul of the conservation system is essential and long overdue, and should include removing DoC’s advocacy role while empowering other agencies to provide the Government with balanced policy advice.

“Surely there is a more sophisticated method to conservation than simply locking away our resources?” asks Owen McShane, Director of the Centre for Resource Management Studies.

The report also recommends a rigorous classification and ranking of the different classes of DoC land, all of which is currently managed for full conservation value.

“We are not talking about pristine National Parks here. Much of the DoC estate is typical farmland, gorsy scrubland and even old landfills. Yet it is all treated one and the same under the legislation,” says McShane.

Inadequate legislation passed in 1987 means that DoC is prohibited from considering any non-conservation issues such as regional development, recreation, tourism, land development and rehabilitation, transport, utilisation of energy and mineral resources and Maori claims.

“DoC’s expanding estate is hobbling our economy by locking away valuable resources. These resources should be managed transparently in the interests of all New Zealanders, rather than by a narrowly focused, impenetrable Government Department,” says McShane.

The Centre for Resource Management Studies has called for a forum where decision makers are exposed to an informed and democratic process, allowing all aspects of land use to be considered in a balanced and transparent environment.


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