Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Ahuriri Conservation Park opened for the public

8 March 2005 Media Statement

Ahuriri Conservation Park opened for the public

The Ahuriri Conservation Park, protecting one of the South Island's most spectacular and important high country landscapes, was opened today by Conservation Minister Chris Carter.

Spanning 49,000 hectares, the park gives the public guaranteed ownership and access to a slice of extraordinary mountain country in and around the upper Ahuriri Valley near Omarama in North Otago. The park contains glaciers, vulnerable wetlands, tussock lands and beech forest offering almost unparalleled opportunities for mountain biking, hunting, fishing, climbing, horse riding and walking.

"A year ago, the government faced a stark choice," Mr Carter said.

"Either we bought Birchwood Station, which forms the centrepiece of the Ahuriri Conservation Park, or we ran the risk of it ending up on the open market. We weren't prepared to accept that. The landscape of the Ahuriri is part of every New Zealander's birth right, and the government has a responsibility to protect it. Today, we have completed the task."

About half the new park was obtained in the purchase of Birchwood by the government in 2004, and the remaining 26,000 hectares has been woven together from land recently obtained through the tenure review of Crown pastoral leases, or land already managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC).

"By combining these areas in to one large conservation park, we are creating a substantial ecological, social and economic asset, which will deliver benefits for the people of New Zealand for generations to come," Mr Carter said.

"I have been delighted by the interest generated in this area since Birchwood was purchased. Locals believe public use has roughly tripled. Over the holiday season, 50 cars a day have been heading into the Ahuriri Valley. Bed nights at the Ahuriri Base Hut have doubled, and enquiries at nearby visitor centres are mounting all the time.

"The astonishing beauty of this area is now being recognised around the world. In the short time DOC has been responsible for it, we have been contacted by at least half a dozen organisations wanting to film in the park. We are talking about interest from a whole spectrum of companies from international car makers to a Danish ice cream company.

"The timing of this park is important, " Mr Carter said.

"Tourism is booming in nearby Omarama. The local visitor centre had a 46 per cent increase in visitors in January, and tourism numbers to the MacKenzie district are expected to reach 1.2m a year by 2010. This park will add to the profile of the area, and its tourism infrastructure.

"DOC will continue to invest in the park," Mr Carter said.

"To date, we have upgraded the access road. We have built toilets and introduced signage, and we have released 17 of the critically endangered kaki (black stilt) into the wetlands near the Birchwood homestead. In future, we intend to release more kaki, provide more interpretation of some of the natural and historic areas in the park, and further expand some of the recreation facilities.

"Ahuriri is just a beginning. The government intends to gradually establish more parks for the public throughout the high country alongside farmland and the private holdings of the rich and famous," Mr Carter said.

"These efforts are occurring as part of the government's Public Wildlands Programme, which aims to ensure more lasting protection of and access to key areas of importance for recreation and conservation, at a time of rapidly changing land ownership, land use, and development."

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

PM's Press Conference: Pike Re-Entry Agency

At today's post-cabinet press conference Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was joined by Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little to announce plans for the new agency for re-entry of the mine.

The Pike River Recovery Agency, Te Kahui Whakamana Rua Tekau ma Iwa, will be officially established on 31 January 2018 and will work with the Pike River families with the intention of manned entry of the drift before March 2019. More>>

 

Foreign Affairs: Patrick Gower Interviews Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says discussions have already begun on how to bring climate change refugees into New Zealand under a Pacific seasonal employment plan... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Centre Right’s Love Of ‘Nanny State’

You’d almost think it was 2005 again. That was a time when the rugged individualists of the centre-right were being beset by government regulations on the nature of light-bulbs, the size of shower heads, the junk food available at school tuck shops and other such essentials... More>>

Speaking Of Transport: Public Engagement On Wellington Scenarios

“Our work on possible solutions for Wellington’s transport future is ongoing, but has progressed to the stage where we’re ready to share our ideas with the public and seek their feedback to help guide our next steps...” More>>

ALSO:

Parental Leave: National's Time-Sharing Change Fails

National has proposed a change to the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill that would allow both parents to take paid parental leave at the same time, if that is what suits them best. More>>

ALSO:

Train Free Thursday: Workers Strike To Defend Terms Of Employment

"They signed up to these conditions a year ago when they got the contract for Wellington's rail services. Now they're trying to increase profits by squeezing frontline workers." More>>

ALSO:

Seclusion: Ombudsman Emphasises Importance Of Monitoring

Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero says that while there have been changes to the Education (Update) Amendment Act 2017 to prohibit the use of seclusion, the report is an important reminder of the importance of regular monitoring of schools. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election