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DOC - Air NZ partnership yields positive results

DOC - Air NZ partnership yields positive results

States Services Commissioner Iain Rennie today praised the Department of Conservation (DOC) and Air New Zealand for a partnership that is producing positive results in tourism and conservation.

“Collaboration is the new normal in the public sector. I am thrilled to see more and more government departments stepping outside the box and coming up innovative solutions with partners in both the public and private sectors that deliver better public services for New Zealanders,” Mr Rennie said.

The two organisations began their partnership in April 2012 when they inked a three-year $3-million conservation partnership. This was recently extended to 2017 with the amount of investment now totalling $7.3 million. The newly signed agreement extends the conservation partnership and includes a new set of marine conservation initiatives.

With the goal of promoting the Great Walks to domestic and international visitors, DOC and Air New Zealand agreed to work together to enhance the Great Walks network running through nine of New Zealand’s national parks.

The promotion of the Great Walks network has seen a significant lift in track use with an 8.1% increase in Great Walks visits in the first year of the partnership. The total growth in numbers over the previous five years was 2.5%.

As part of the partnership, Air New Zealand has helped transport nearly 800 threatened birds and reptiles like tuatara to new homes around the country. Four new biodiversity projects have been set up to return threatened birds to Great Walks tracks. With more than 100 rare birds ranging from kiwi to Stewart Island robins returned to safe habitats, hundreds of new predator traps have also been set up alongside the track network to help keep them safe.

“The National Parks and marine reserves that DOC works hard to preserve and protect throughout New Zealand form part of the environmental and cultural fabric of our country. As New Zealand’s national carrier, we have a responsibility to support the great work undertaken to further align conservation with recreation and tourism,” says Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon.

Under the latest agreement, Air New Zealand will also support DOC to promote tourist attractions in the marine reserve network starting with 10 iconic marine destinations which includes Abel Tasman National Park (Tonga Island Marine Reserve), Marlborough Sounds (Long Island - Kokomohua Marine Reserve), and Milford Sound (Piopiotahi Marine Reserve).

“Air New Zealand and DOC are a natural fit,” says DOC Director-General Lou Sanson. “This partnership has enabled us to provide New Zealanders and international visitors with more opportunities to explore nature by land or sea,” Mr Sanson said.

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