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New conservation board for East Coast

Hon Dr Nick Smith
Minister of Conservation

21 March 2014

New conservation board for East Coast

The establishment of a new conservation board for the East Coast covering Gisborne and Hawkes Bay has been agreed to by the Government following a review last year of the network of boards across New Zealand, Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today.

“I have decided to establish a new board covering Gisborne and Hawkes Bay, taking into account the significant conservation issues in this area and the communities of interest. I have concluded that Gisborne has more in common with Hawkes Bay than with the Bay of Plenty, and Hastings with Gisborne rather than Wellington. The new board will give a more effective voice to conservation issues in these important areas,” Dr Smith says.

Currently, there are 13 conservation boards in New Zealand with a board covering the Bay of Plenty and Gisborne, and another covering Wellington and Hawkes Bay. The Minister initiated a review of the boards last year, and deferred new appointments to the boards until the review had been completed. The decision to reconfigure the boards in the east and in the south of the North Island means there will be one new board – bringing the total to 14.

“I have received strong submissions from East Coast MP Anne Tolley, Napier MP Chris Tremain and Tukitiki MP Craig Foss for this change. They have advised me that a separate board for the East Coast will result in more effective input by their communities into conservation decisions in the region.”

Conservation boards play an important role in providing for interaction between a community and the Department of Conservation. They are independent bodies with a defined geographical area, and are responsible for representing the public interest in DOC’s work in managing almost one third of New Zealand’s land area – including national parks, reserves, forest parks and other protected areas – as well as in conservation in general. The majority of board members are appointed through a public nomination process, with a diversity of experience and backgrounds sought in the process.

Dr Smith says he will be finalising appointments to the boards in April, with the boards – including the newest for the East Coast – expected to be in place by May.

ENDS

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