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New General Policy For Conservation In NZ

New general policy for conservation in NZ

The Minister of Conservation is inviting public comment on proposed strategic directions for conservation management in New Zealand.

"The draft general policy statement is designed to bring consistency to decision-making on public conservation land nationwide and to help improve the quality of conservation management," Conservation Minister Chris Carter said today (Friday).

The policy covers the management of public conservation lands other than national parks, and also covers marine conservation areas, protected species and DoC's conservation advocacy, historic heritage management, recreational management and community and iwi partnerships.

New concepts in biodiversity conservation, integrated conservation management, Maori involvement in conservation and the management of historic and cultural heritage would be stated formally for the first time since DOC was established in 1987, he said.

At the same time as general policy is being proposed under the Conservation Act 1987 and other related Acts, the New Zealand Conservation Authority released today for consultation a revised draft general policy statement on national parks management, updating the current general policy statement which dates back to 1983.

Both general policy statements, when confirmed, would define a 'standard of care' for DOC and the Authority in protecting native species, promoting recreation and safeguarding natural and historic heritage on public conservation land, Mr Carter said.

"There will be an extensive period of public discussion as it is important that everyone with an interest in conservation has a chance to have their views heard. I stress that these are draft policies and I have no doubt they can be further improved and refined as a result of public consideration, discussion and comment."

"The general policies are about formalising general conservation principles; they are to interpret the laws, not rewrite them. The policies cannot, of course, be inconsistent with conservation legislation and this needs to be borne in mind by people making submissions."

Mr Carter said that the policies, once finalised, would guide future conservation management strategies and plans.

"This is an important time in the development of New Zealand conservation and I urge everyone who has an interest in conservation, from ecologists to trampers, anglers and tourist operators to become involved in this exercise."

Mr Carter said New Zealand was blessed with some of the world's most outstanding and distinctive flora and fauna, and also with conservation areas of great beauty and attractiveness for recreation and tourism.

"But the recreational and heritage values of conservation areas can be readily diminished by alien weeds and pests, by over-use and by poor management. These policies, if we get them right, will help protect these values and ensure we are responsible guardians or kaitiaki."

Copies of draft general policy statements are available on the DOC web site, www.doc.govt.nz, and from early next week, at DOC Regional, Conservancy and Area Offices and public libraries. Submissions close with the Department on December 19 this year.


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