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Minister seeks nominations for Conservation Boards

6 April 2001 Media Statement
Minister seeks nominations for Conservation Boards


Conservation Minister Sandra Lee is calling for nominations to fill casual vacancies on New Zealand's 14-conservation boards.

The vacancies have occurred because between two and four members of the respective boards are ending their current three year terms. The deadline for nominations is 7 May.

¡§Conservation boards provide the public with an opportunity to contribute to the conservation and protection of New Zealand¡¦s natural and historic heritage,¡¨ Ms Lee said.

¡§These boards represent the long term public interest, including the interest of tangata whenua, in conservation. They are closely involved with planning of conservation initiatives in their area, and policy development which affects the management of public conservation areas," she said.

¡§I encourage people with suitable skills and an interest in conservation in New Zealand to apply for a position. The work that board members do is essential in terms of providing valuable community input,¡¨ Ms Lee said.

ENDS

Background information:

„h On Nominations
Public advertisements calling for nominations will appear in newspapers nationwide this weekend. A copy of the nomination form can be downloaded from the Department of Conservation website at http://www.doc.govt.nz
The number of vacancies on each board are as follows:

Northland, 3; Auckland, 4; Waikato, 2; East Coast/Hawke¡¦s Bay, 4; Bay of Plenty, 3; Tongariro/Taupo, 3; Taranaki/Whanganui 4; Wellington, 3; Chatham Islands, 3; Nelson/Marlborough, 5; West Coast, 2; Canterbury Aoraki, 2; Otago, 2; Southland, 2.

Written nominations may be made by any person or organisation. Nomination forms and additional information may be obtained at www.doc.govt.nz or from the conservator or any office of the Department of Conservation. Nomination forms are to be sent to the Minister of Conservation, care of the address on the nomination form.

„h On the boards
A conservation board provides for interaction between a community and the Department of Conservation. The Department manages almost one-third of New Zealand's land area - including national parks, reserves, forest parks and other protected areas - for the benefit of all New Zealanders.
Conservation boards are independent bodies, established by statute. Each board represents the community interest in the work of the Department, and conservation in general, within the area of jurisdiction of that board. They are advisors to the Department and the New Zealand Conservation Authority.
There are 14 conservation boards, each with a defined geographical area and up to 12 members.

What do Conservation Boards do?
The functions of boards are set out in Section 6M of the Conservation Act 1987 and in the National Parks, Reserves and Walkways Acts. The boards focus on planning and strategic direction, not the day-to-day operational details of the Department's work.
A major responsibility for each board is overseeing the Conservation Management Strategy for its region. A Conservation Management Strategy is a 10-year plan for managing and protecting the natural and historic features and wildlife of the region. Conservation Management Strategies are prepared by a board and the Department in consultation with local communities. Once a Conservation Management Strategy has been approved by the New Zealand Conservation Authority, boards advise on their implementation.

Other board work can include:
„h developing and reviewing national park and other management plans for lands administered by the Department;
„h advising on proposals for marine reserves;
„h considering the impact of concessions for tourism and other activities on conservation land;
„h looking at the range of recreational opportunities in the region;
„h advising on proposals to change the protective status or classification of areas of national or international importance.

Who is on a conservation board?
Conservation boards consist of up to twelve members appointed mostly from public nominations. Members are appointed for the knowledge they have of nature conservation, natural earth and marine sciences, historic heritage, recreation, tourism, the local community and Maori perspectives. Before making appointments to the boards the Minister consults with the New Zealand Conservation Authority. The Minister of Maori Affairs is consulted for any appointment representing tangata whenua interests.
Boards are a multi-talented team of people from diverse backgrounds. For example, teachers, farmers, scientists, tangata whenua, trampers, historians and tourism operators. Members are appointed as individuals because of their expertise, experience and links with the community. Individuals do not act as delegates promoting any cause or organisation - rather, members work by consensus within a team. The diversity amongst members brings together a wide range of knowledge, skills and concerns.

What is expected of a board member?
An interest in conservation is the first requirement. Time and energy run a close second. Before you agree to be nominated to become a member you need to be fully aware of the demands and responsibilities of the role. Job satisfaction is greatest when all members are able to participate fully and work is shared.
If you can, talk to a former or present board member about the commitment required. Your nearest Department of Conservation office can put you in touch with a local member if you do not know one personally.
Most boards meet about six times a year, a few more often. Meetings take a full day. When they are linked with a field trip or inspection visit they can take two or even three days, sometimes over a weekend. There will also be committee meetings, time required for researching issues and working on reports or submissions, preparation time spent reading briefing material before meetings, and time for liaison and public consultation.

Do members get paid?
From 1 September 1998, board members will be paid a daily fee of $140 for meetings and other approved activities. The fee for a board chairperson will be $190 per day. Reasonable expenses for travel, accommodation and meals approved in advance by the board will be reimbursed.

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