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DOC - Time To Share The Vision

16 July 2004

DOC - Time To Share The Vision

It is time the Minister of Conservation shared his vision for the future of the South Island high country with the taxpaying public, says New Zealand First’s conservation spokesman Edwin Perry.

“DoC considers that 1.3 million hectares of Crown high country leasehold land has national conservation significance and should revert to Crown control. With this in mind it has undertaken a tenure review process.

“The desired outcome is a network of conservation parks and reserves stretching from Marlborough to Southland to be administered by the Department of Conservation.

“However a Lincoln University professor has estimated that one possible consequence of this process will be the eventual loss of over 660,000 animals from the South Island’s merino wool flock. This will impact directly on the viability of the wool industry, one of our top four export earners, said Mr Perry.

“Replacing flocks of sheep with flocks of tourists might be part of the plan, but if so presumably DoC has done its sums regarding future revenue and those figures should be made public.

“There will also be the costs of maintaining pest and weed control over large areas of non-productive land. In February this year DoC admitted that it controls stoats on little more than 2% of land within national parks and possums on little more than 12%. Not exactly figures to inspire confidence when you consider that it wants control of another 1.3 million hectares.

“It is time the taxpayers were given all the figures for the management resources which DoC will need to maintain the extra land. A potential change in land use which could impact on our national export earnings and possibly necessitate further funding for DoC should not be carried out without full public disclosure,” said Mr Perry.


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