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DOC to spend $2.7m on Molesworth Station


DOC to spend $2.7m on Molesworth Station


The Department of Conservation is to spend $2.7m over the next five years enhancing Molesworth Station as a visitor destination and park for both conservation and farming, Conservation Minister Chris Carter announced today.

"Molesworth is New Zealand's largest single farm, and a part of our heritage. It covers 180,000 hectares of extraordinary South Marlborough landscape rich in history, public recreation opportunities, and over 70 threatened native species," Mr Carter said.

"On 1 July management of the station is to pass to the Department of Conservation (DOC) and Landcorp following government decisions in 2003 to permanently protect the area from sale, increase public access, and increase conservation work in the station.

"I am delighted to announce that DOC will immediately begin spending $650,000 over two years on bridge and road improvements in the station, as well as new huts, signage and other recreation facilities to support public use," Mr Carter said.

"Furthermore, an additional $750,000 over two years will be spent on new fencing, nature protection, weed and animal pest control, fire control and historic heritage management. From 2007, DOC will make an ongoing investment in Molesworth of $500,000 a year," Mr Carter said.

"This expenditure will total $2.7m by 2010. It will be over and above investment in the station by the existing farming operation, which will continue under a lease managed by Landcorp.

"The government is absolutely committed to ensuring Molesworth fulfils its vast potential as a farm, a recreation area and a conservation area," Mr Carter said.

"Like the rest of the South Island High Country, Molesworth is much more than just a place to graze stock, it is a rich social, environmental, and economic resource for all New Zealanders. Molesworth's new status as a reserve reflects that."

Editor's Notes

Molesworth's historic farming operation will continue under an agreement between the current farm managers, Landcorp, and DOC. That agreement is being negotiated at present.

DOC was allocated an additional $18 million last year for resourcing its future role in tenure review of Crown pastoral leases, and the management of any new lands coming from tenure review.

DOC will spend $10.3 million this year on weed control nationwide, including in the high country. This will be spent in priority areas, at an average of $13.20 a hectare.

DOC’s annual budget for control of Wilding Pines, the biggest weed problem in the High Country, was increased by 43 per cent last year from $1.670 million to $2.388 million.

Public access to some parts of Molesworth is limited by the needs of the farming operation and safety issues, such as the fire risk.

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