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Lee An Inspirational Minister Of Conservation

Sandra Lee An Inspirational Minister Of Conservation

June 17, 2002 - Wellington

Forest and Bird president, Dr Gerry McSweeney today paid tribute to retiring MP Sandra Lee and described her as an inspirational Minister of Conservation.

"Sandra Lee's understanding and extensive knowledge of conservation, her integrity and principled response to often challenging issues such as mining and whaling has made her an exceptional Minister," he said.

"In only three years as Conservation Minister Sandra Lee, working with Labour, has achieved some major conservation successes. These include:

* the $187 million five year Biodiversity Package which is giving the Department of Conservation much needed resources to better protect our natural heritage.

* the protection of 132,000 ha of West Coast indigenous forests previously managed by Timberlands. This has included significant additions to Paparoa and Westland/Tai Poutini National Parks and Victoria Forest Park, and the establishment of new reserves.

* staunch and vigorous advocacy at the International Whaling Commission for the protection of these magnificent mammals and for the establishment of whale sanctuaries.

* the establishment of Rakiura National Park on Stewart Island.

* creating New Zealand's first tussockland park, the Korowai/Torlesse Tussockland Park near Porters Pass.

* formal proposals for two new wilderness areas, the Adams in the central Southern Alps and the Paparoa Wilderness Area.

* declining GRD Macraes' application to more than double the size of its proposed open cast gold mine on conservation land at Reefton.

* approving the Te Matuku (Waiheke Island) and Wellington South Coast marine reserve applications. These now await decisions by the Minister of Fisheries.

* the introduction of the Marine Reserves Bill, intended to streamline the creation of marine reserves and allow deepwater reserves."

"As Minister of Local Government, Sandra Lee has also encouraged local authorities to be more aware of their responsibilities for biodiversity conservation."

"The Minister can be justly proud of her legacy and New Zealand's native plants, animals and wild places have much to thank her for," Dr McSweeney said.


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