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Rakiura/Stewart Island national park proposal

Media Statement

Conservation Minister to discuss Rakiura/Stewart Island national park proposal with local communities


The Minister of Conservation Hon Sandra Lee will discuss the proposed Rakiura/Stewart Island national park with local communities when she visits Invercargill and Oban in just under two weeks time.

"I have given an undertaking to make no decision on the New Zealand Conservation Authority recommendation to create a new national park until I have met with residents on Stewart Island," Ms Lee said. "It is important that the residents indicate their views on the proposal. I am keen to work through the issues which is why DOC is organising a public meeting for me in Oban.

"I acknowledge that the New Zealand Conservation Authority recommended appropriate Government assistance to support the possible impact of increased visitors on Stewart Island's infrastructure if a park was created," Ms Lee said. "We would consider the Southland District Council's submission for a $4.5m development fund to prepare the Island if Cabinet decided to proceed with the establishment of a national park."

Ms Lee said she was aware the Southland Conservation Board had given qualified support for the national park proposal, while noting that some public concerns needed to be addressed. She said some of the key issues included
 whether the location of the park boundary adjoining Oban would allow an appropriate buffer zone;
 the granting of a two year prospecting permit to Canadian mining company Anzex Resources, ahead of any formal decision on the national park proposal;
 acknowledgment of Maori perspectives on the proposal, primarily from Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu (TRONT) under the provisions of the Nga Tahu Claims Settlement Act, but also from other iwi with an interest in the Island.

The Conservation Minister will meet with iwi groups at Murihiku Marae on December 15, and during her weekend visit to the region will also meet with Southland local authority leaders in Invercargill as well as the Stewart Island community in Oban.

ENDS

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