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Minister announces DOC staff exchange with Italy

Minister announces DOC staff exchange with Italy

NZ and Italy to swap conservation expertise

New Zealand and Italy are to share their respective experiences as world leaders in conservation with staff exchanges from this year.

Conservation Minister Chris Carter and his Italian counterpart, Environment Minister Altero Matteoli, announced the staff exchange in Rome today after signing an exchange of letters to formalise the scheme.

Swapping staff between conservation agencies will allow New Zealand and Italy to share respective cultures, experiences, information and skills on conservation management and practices.

"While I was in Italy last year, I discussed with officials the problems they face in managing places like Venice, where there is a very high tourist flow," Mr Carter said. "We have similar issues managing tourism in areas such as Milford Sound.

"Italy, a mountainous country similar in size and shape to New Zealand and with an extensive coastline, has a large number of national parks and marine protected areas.

"Both countries have to deal with economic activities occurring within national parks, but we have very different systems for doing so. I believe there is a lot we in New Zealand can learn from the Italians in conservation management and I would hope that we can contribute the same to Italy."

Mr Carter is visiting Italy, where he attended the International Whaling Commission meeting at Sorrento. He toured the National Park of the Dolomites and held extensive discussions with park officials when last in Italy in June 2003.

Exchange staff will spend time working in national parks or in other areas of conservation management in the respective host countries. The details will be fleshed out by conservation agencies in each country.

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