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Tourism Minister Welcomes Abel Tasman Decision

10 April 2002

Tourism Minister Mark Burton is delighted that a new management regime and reserve status has been agreed to for the foreshore of Abel Tasman National Park.

"Abel Tasman is a jewel in the crown of New Zealand tourism, but it has been recognised for many years that pressures on the Park are growing," Mark Burton said. "At a central government level, concerns were raised as long ago as 1995.

"An estimated 180,000 people now visit the Park each year. But the problem is less about the absolute number of visitors to the Park, as the management of those visitors and the extent to which they are spread throughout each day and across the season.

"An added complication is that the foreshore and adjacent waters are outside of the National Park boundaries. As a result, no single agency has been able to manage the growing pressures on the Park.

"I visited Abel Tasman National Park last month and met with local tourism operators, civic and community leaders. There was genuine goodwill from all parties, and strong support for the solutions proposed in the Matheson Report," Mark Burton said.

Nelson Mayor Paul Matheson produced a report late last year, after extensive community consultation, which proposed a joint management of the Park foreshore by DOC and the Tasman District Council.

"My colleague, Conservation Minister Sandra Lee, is to be applauded for responding positively to this proposal. I must also note the continued interest and efforts of MP Damien O'Conner on this issue.

"Reserve status should be in place by next summer. The integrated management of the foreshore under the Reserves Act will provide a greater level of protection than currently exists. There will be ongoing issues to be addressed, and I am pleased that Paul Matheson's advisory group will be retained to advise DOC and Tasman District Council.

"This is an excellent example of government agencies working cooperatively with a local community to come up with local solutions to local concerns," Mark Burton said.

Ends

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