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PQ12. Conservation—Aotea Conservation Park

12. Conservation—Aotea Conservation Park

[Sitting date: 23 July 2014. Volume:700;Page:16. Text is subject to correction.]

12. SIMON O’CONNOR (National—Tāmaki) to the Minister of Conservation : When will the new Aotea Conservation Park in Auckland announced on Sunday be formally gazetted and opened?

Hon Dr NICK SMITH (Minister of Conservation): I have made the decision to proceed with the Aotea Conservation Park proposed by local MP Nikki Kaye last October, but the formal gazettal and opening has been delayed by the recent storm damage to tracks and facilities on the island. The decision to proceed with the new park enables the tracks and facilities to be rebuilt to the higher standard and to recognise the new Aotea Conservation Park. This is expected to cost $2.5 million and will be completed over summer. The Department of Conservation’s intention is to open the new park early next year.

Simon O'Connor : How does this new park compare to others in Auckland, and were any changes made during the process of consultation?

Hon Dr NICK SMITH : The new park is 12,109 hectares, and it will be the largest Department of Conservation park in Auckland. It will be similar in size to the two regional parks in the Hunua and Waitakere ranges. The significance of this park is that it is the largest forest that is possum and stoat - free anywhere in New Zealand. It is particularly rich in trees like pōhutukawa, kauri, and tree daisy and birds like kākā and brown teal, and it has the largest population of black petrel anywhere in New Zealand. There were 2,800 submissions on the proposal. On the basis of representations from the Auckland Council, I decided to exclude a small area that it required for a small cemetery.

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