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St James worthy of new National Park: Greens

8 October 2008
St James worthy of new National Park: Greens

The Green Party believes the Government's purchase of the iconic St James Station announced today gives an opportunity to create a new National Park centred on the Lewis Pass highway.

Green Party Conservation Spokesperson Metiria Turei welcomes the purchase and says the area would make a great new National Park - or an exciting addition to nearby Nelson Lakes National Park - that would afford appropriate conservation protection and recreational opportunities.

"I do agree with the Federated Mountain Clubs however, that the Department of Conservation needs to be adequately resourced to protect and manage our new public lands," Mrs Turei says.

"The Greens have already committed to immediately boost DOC funding by $100 million, to double pest control funding, and our forthcoming Tourism policy will also contain measures to assist DOC."

Green Party Outdoor Recreation Spokesperson Quentin Duthie says the area is already an iconic attraction so the purchase is a strategic coup for all New Zealanders.

"Many Kiwis will know the St James and Lewis pass areas well, especially the popular St James Walkway, but would be surprised to know that much of this area is not part of the National Park - indeed some of highest snowy peaks in the area are half in National Park and half outside.

"The long-awaited St James purchase is an opportunity to pull together the conservation and reserve land around the Lewis Pass highway, the St James Walkway area and the upper Waiau and Clarence valleys into a National Park, connecting to the much-loved Nelson Lakes National Park and creating new economic development opportunities along the Lewis Pass highway.

"I believe outdoor lovers nation-wide will welcome the purchase and agree with the Greens' call to protect it as National Park."

Mrs Turei says the Greens are calling on the Minister to ask the local Conservation Boards and the New Zealand Conservation Authority to investigate a National Park and make a recommendation to the Minister after public consultation.

"The Greens are pleased with this use of the Nature Heritage Fund, despite the hefty $40 million price-tag, because the evidence is clear that tenure review has often resulted in a loss of threatened biodiversity and misuse of taxpayer funds."


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