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Major Conservation Policy Development Underway

13 February 2002

Conservation Minister Sandra Lee today announced the development and review of national policies for all public conservation areas had begun and that these policies would guide conservation management for the next 10 years and beyond.

Ms Lee said she had directed the Department of Conservation to develop general policy under the Conservation Act.

"The Conservation Act makes provision for general policy but none has been developed in the 15 years since the Act was passed," she said. "This policy will give national direction and consistency to conservation management strategies and plans developed in the future.”

The chairman of the New Zealand Conservation Authority Kerry Marshall said the NZCA welcomed the Minister’s intent to develop general policy and would themselves be concurrently reviewing the existing General Policy for National Parks.

“The existing general policy has served national park management well since it was adopted in 1983," said Mr Marshall. "But there have been major developments in conservation management, legislation and organisational structures since then that need to be reflected in the policy. Modern concepts of biodiversity and biosecurity also need to be incorporated."

Mr Marshall said the intention of the Authority would be to retain the strengths of the existing general policy that has earned New Zealand a worldwide reputation for the quality of our national park management.

The Conservation Minister said there would be full public consultation in the development of both policies with draft policies intended for release later in the year, and a two month period set aside for public submissions.

Ms Lee and Mr Marshall said that they believed the general policies would deliver genuine benefits for conservation management and enhance the quality of conservation management strategies and national park management plans.

Ms Lee said the Labour Alliance coalition was committed to increasing the national park land available to nurture indigenous biodiversity and turn the tide on its loss.

"The Prime Minister and I, accompanied by Sir Edmund Hillary, will be privileged to open New Zealand's 14th national park, Rakiura national park, on Stewart Island early next month," she said.

"The New Zealand Conservation Authority and the Southland conservation board are to be congratulated for their successful advocacy of our newest national park, facilitated with the generous cooperation of the Stewart Island community, Nga Tahu, Rakiura iwi and Southland's energetic local authorities."

Ends

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