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Split DOC in two to reclaim it from green zealots

Tuesday, 22 March 2005

UF / ORNZ: Split DOC in two to reclaim it from green zealots

DOC is out of control and United Future and Outdoor Recreation NZ will lead the charge to have it restructured into two parts – a conservation division and a recreation division – to reclaim it from the extremist greens who control it, the party’s leader Peter Dunne said in launching the joint United Future and Outdoor Recreation NZ outdoors policy in Taupo today.

“We need less zealotry in the Conservation Department and more balanced views that promote conservation, encourage and enable recreation and bring the national interest into key decision-making and policy structures,” Mr Dunne said, in jointly launching the policy package with the party’s environment spokesman, Larry Baldock, and ORNZ chairman Paul Check.

“We’re talking about New Zealand here; our country and our birthright to enjoy it, and not have it ring-fenced and New Zealanders effectively shut out of it, because that is what is happening today.”

Mr Dunne said United Future and ORNZ would move to have the Conservation Act amended to ensure the interests of all conservation estate stakeholders – including the national interest – are properly taken into account when decisions are made.

“That simply doesn’t happen at the moment,” he said.

He said DOC would be split into two semi-autonomous divisions, with the conservation one responsible for scientific research, pest control and native plant and animal stewardship.

“The recreation division would be tasked with managing land and waterway access, track and hut maintenance, game management and tourism.

DOC’s advocacy and policy-making capabilities would be transferred to the Ministry for the Environment.

“This splitting and separating of functions would bring an end to the situation we have today where the average New Zealand is effectively made to feel like an intruder in what is, after all, our own back yard,” Mr Dunne said.

Mr Check said the policy would be warmly welcomed by the 26,000 New Zealanders who at the last election voted for ORNZ, which has since affiliated with United Future.

“This is about mainstreaming a common sense policy which mainstream New Zealand – and certainly those who enjoy the outdoors – can really support.

“It is a policy that recognises that those New Zealanders who use and enjoy the outdoors are in reality the ones who most deeply care about true conservation – and not some pristine, ideological neverland where none of us can tread.

“Basically, it’s about having New Zealand for New Zealanders. That has clearly been anathema to DOC for some time and we will bring them into line,” Mr Check said.

ENDS

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