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Nats embarrassed by own conservation policy

18 July 2008 Media Release

Nats embarrassed by own conservation policy

National’s move to sneak their policy on valuable public conservation land out late on a Friday afternoon speaks for itself, says Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick.

“Not only are National hoping that no-one will notice their embarrassing ‘no-change’ policy, but they fail to pay New Zealanders the respect of providing basic information such as costings,” Steve Chadwick says.

“National’s policy seems little more than re-naming things and asking the Department of Conservation to continue what they are already doing.

“While I welcome National’s recognition of Labour’s long-time commitment to recreation, how long can National continue to promise change but promote existing Labour policy?”

Steve Chadwick also says local Conservation Boards already look at regional conservation and recreational priorities and that affordable camping opportunities were being developed as fast as suitable land is found.

“Conservation boards are already mandated to look at recreational opportunities in their region, and this year alone we expect to develop a further four camping sites as well as upgrade and expand nine existing sites.”

This work comes on top of the four new sites opened late last year and the 60 campsites that DOC already maintains along New Zealand’s Great Walks.

“National’s promise for increased spending on recreation rings hollow in the face of their ‘sinking lid’ policy on public service staff and tax cuts.”

Steve Chadwick also notes that the Walking Access Bill, currently before Select Committee, sets up a Walking Access Commission that will provide local and regional leadership and coordination of walking access.

In addition, Ms Chadwick questioned whether the absence of Nick Smith announcing the policy signalled another divide in National’s caucus – between the hunting lobby and its so-called ‘Blue-Green’ fringe.

“Nick Smith appears too embarrassed to have his name attached to any suggestion to let hunters have total control over the protection of our rare native species.”


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