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ACT Supports Forest and Bird’s Privatisation Call

ACT Supports Forest and Bird’s Call For Privatisation

Forest and Bird Society director, Kevin Smith, is to be congratulated for calling for an end to the Crown’s monopoly over the administration of National Parks, said ACT Conservation spokesman, Gerry Eckhoff.

Mr Smith said the Minister should not be condemned for exploring ways of tackling Maori concerns and aspirations over management of the park.

“Tuhoe’s natural association with the Urewera National Park makes them obvious candidates as well as affording an excellent opportunity for commercial enterprise to offset administration costs of this asset.

“A precedent already exists in the South Island where the Greenstone Valley and environs, while still owned by Ngai Tahu, is leased back to the Crown to ensure access.

“The issue of the road upgrade is a completely separate matter. It is not appropriate for Sandra Lee to direct the local Board to spend money on a road depending on who lives at the end of it

“Ms Lee, as a Minister of the Crown, must respect established democratic principles. Funding formulas for roads remove the ability of Ministers and senior government officials to arbitrarily allocate funds to their friends.

“Whether the road should be upgraded is neither an issue of race, location or politicking. If the road meets the appropriate funding formula it should be built, if the road does not it should remain a track.

“Any deviation from this process raises serious question of Ministerial favouritism.

“ACT supports Kevin Smith in his call for the end of the Crown monopoly over National Parks, said Gerry Eckhoff.

ENDS

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