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Minister responds to Conservation Board Petition

23 July 2003 Media Statement

Minister responds to Conservation Board Petition

Conservation Minister Chris Carter has decided not to change the process for appointing the West Coast Conservation Board after a petition was organised by West Coast mayors asking that the board be elected.

"I am not prepared to change the current process for appointing the West Coast Conservation Board. The process was established by parliament and applies to conservation boards throughout the country. Successive governments have left it unchanged," Mr Carter said.

"Conservation boards are not meant to be forums for local politics which is what they would become if members were elected. The boards exist to fufill a specific statutory function relating to conservation promotion and management in their area.

"Members on the boards are often eminent local people. At present, 23 conservation board members come from the farming sector, and 82 from the professional, business and trade sectors. They are skilled and respected," Mr Carter said.

"If those who signed the petition consider that the current conservation board members are unsuitable for the task they can put themselves forward for appointment or nominate others. The process allows for public nominations and a great many communities around the country take this opportunity up.

"Petitioners may also like to attend one of the West Coast Conservation Board's meetings. They are open to the public and all of their business is public information," Mr Carter said.

ENDS

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