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New Streamlined Processes For Doc Concessions

3 August 2006

New Streamlined Processes For Doc Concessions

Operating low impact commercial activities on public conservation land has just become an easier business.

The Department of Conservation has announced improvements to its concession system that will benefit new and existing concessionaires, including tourism operators in New Zealand.

After consulting with the tourism industry, iwi and other stakeholders, the Department has simplified the processing of low impact concession applications, effectively reducing business compliance costs for concessionaires. Guided walking, climbing, hunting and fishing activities are some of the low impact activities that are likely to benefit from these changes.

At the same time the Department will be maintaining its rigorous and inclusive systems for the more challenging, high impact activities, such as the recent airwalks concession application over the Hokitika Gorge on the West Coast.

“These new processes provide win-win outcomes for all parties, because these improvements reduce business compliance costs and the time it takes to consider concession applications, including those from tourism operations wishing to operate on public conservation lands.” Andy Thompson, DOC’s Concessions and Tourism Manager said.

“Streamlining the consideration of low impact concessions applications will help my Department to deliver a better service to concessionaires, it will also assist DOC staff to spend more time on better planning for and monitoring concession activities.” He said

“Improving our planning and monitoring of concession activities is needed to meet the challenges of an expanding tourism industry while balancing the need for access to our unique back country experiences and protecting our biodiversity. These enhancements to the concession system are good news for business and good news for conservation.” said Mr Thompson.

The two new processes that have been introduced are the new ‘reissue’ process and the new ‘conforming’ application process.

For example if Mr Tom Jones hunting guide has held a concession for the last five years, has done a great job looking after the natural environment, his clients and has paid his concessions fees on time, then the Department will be able to consider his new concession through the reissue process. This will save Mr Jones up to half of his normal application fees (saving approximately $500) and the Department will be able to process his new concession application in one third of the time that it would have previously taken.

Over the last two years DOC has considered 573 low impact, non-notified, concession applications. Many of these would now be processed under one, of the two new processes.

In addition to these and other improvements, last year the Department worked with Qualmark to reduce compliance costs for business by aligning safety requirements so that there was no need for DOC to duplicate its requirements for safety plans for concessionaires.

Mr Thompson said “These initiatives show that we are serious about reducing business compliance costs where this can also benefit conservation”

The aim of the concession system is to allow our visitors to enjoy and learn about New Zealand’s world-renowned landscapes and wildlife while, at the same time, ensuring they remain protected.

ENDS



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