Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


DOC steps up tourism industry compliance and enforcement

Media release

17 June 2019

DOC steps up tourism industry compliance and enforcement

The Department of Conservation (DOC) is sending a strong message to tourism operators that they must comply with the law when operating on public conservation land.

DOC has released figures from a targeted compliance programme focusing on guiding and transport operators at high volume tourist sites in the South Island this summer.

Te Wāipounamu compliance initiative employed rangers on fixed term contracts to carry out checks on operators at Punakaiki, South Westland, Wanaka, Wakatipu and Te Anau. The initiative found that while most operators were working within their permit conditions, about a quarter were found to have either breached their conditions or were operating illegally.

In instances where the concessionaire was found to be in breach of their conditions, or an operator was found to be operating commercially without the required concession, DOC sent a compliance letter to the operator. This provided information on applying for either the relevant concession or a variation to an existing concession. Operators were given a deadline to complete the necessary actions or cease activity.

Non-responsive operators or complex cases were escalated for investigation by DOC’s National Compliance Team.

Southern South Island Director Aaron Fleming says DOC is committed to ensuring people play by the rules when they interact with our wildlife and special places on public conservation land.

“We are responsible for managing more than a third of New Zealand’s land area and we want to make sure we are doing so in a way that supports and protects conservation and is fair for all users, including tourism operators – many of whom go above and beyond to contribute to the special places their businesses rely on. Most operators work hard to ensure they are following the conditions of their permits. When operators don’t, it’s not only unfair to those following the rules, but poses a risk to our native places and species,” says Aaron Fleming.

“We noticed that later in the season, once word spread that DOC was doing compliance checks, more operators started complying.

“Even commercial operators with existing concessions are being put on notice. If they breach the concession, DOC is prepared to suspend or terminate under the terms of the concession contracts.”

DOC’s National Compliance Strategy draws attention to the more than 4,000 permissions and concessions issued by DOC, and the need to ensure operators comply with the concessions system which applies on public conservation land and in relation to marine mammal tourism.

The issue of non-compliance by commercial guiding companies who don’t obtain a concession is one focus area for DOC’s National Compliance Team, which has employed two full time investigators to handle concessions-related breaches of conservation law.

Aaron Fleming says that DOC will use the full force of the law if need be.

“We educate and inform in the first instance, and follow up with penalties or court action if the behaviour is ongoing,” he says.

If you notice someone breaking the rules on conservation land, ring DOCHOT 0800 362 468. Illegal activity includes:

• illegal whitebaiting

• vandalism of huts and tracks

• removal of plants from reserves

• killing or catching native wildlife

• fishing in marine reserves

• disturbing marine mammals

• commercial guiding without a concession.


Background information

DOC invested approximately $300,000 in tourism concessions compliance in the Te Wāipounamu (Southern South Island and Western South Island) regions from October 2018 until April 2019.

Te Wāipounamu Compliance operation

Figures from 1 November 2018 to 10 April 2019:

DistrictNo. Concession Activities CheckedNo. ComplyingNo. Condition BreachesNo. Alleged Illegals
South Westland4473596127
Central Otago146113227
Grand Total (Count)35422571776154
Grand Total (%)72.6%21.9%4.3%

Of 2,445 activities checked in Fiordland 79% were parking, 13% were guiding, and 6% were from a joint government agency operation that targeted drivers on the Milford Road. 21% of the parking activities were non-compliant. 67% of the guiding activities were non-compliant.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Global Factors Facing TV3

Oaktree Capital gave MediaWorks a gallows reprieve in 2013 by pushing out its former Australian owner Ironbridge and facilitating a receivership-driven restructure that enabled MediaWorks to shed a burden of tax liabilities and international programme purchasing contracts. Oaktree eventually assumed 100% ownership of Mediaworks in 2015.

But here’s the rub. In May of this year, Oaktree itself was bought into by the giant Canadian firm Brookfields Asset Management... In the light of the Brookfields stake and the uncertain state of the global economy, Oaktree has come under pressure to shed and/or streamline the underperforming assets in its portfolio. More>>


Bullying Investigations: Police Commissioner Announces Independent Review

Police Commissioner Mike Bush has today announced an independent review of the systems and processes NZ Police has in place to address complaints of bullying. More>>

PM's Post-Cab: Now We Are Two

Questions covered Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters' comments on the potential closure of Mediaworks' television channels, the Auckland light rail planning process, the select committee report on the Zero Carbon Bill and its methane target range... More>>

Court Issues New Guildines: Revamp Of Meth Sentencing Welcomed

The court accepted submissions by both the New Zealand Bar Association and the New Zealand Law Society that rather than solely focusing on the quantity of meth involved, there should be greater focus on the role of the offender. More>>


'Armed Response Teams': Armed Police "Will Cause American-Style Shootings"

The Police Commissioner's announcement that squadcars of officers with automatic rifles will patrol New Zealand's streets is dangerous and unnecessary, according to the criminal justice community organisation People Against Prisons Aotearoa. The ... More>>


Control Orders: Amnesty Says Don't Rush Terrorism Bill

"The problem is, we often see the word “terrorism” being applied broadly by oppressive regimes to detain innocent people who're simply rallying for a better life." More>>


Expert Reaction: $17 million To Fight Online Extremist Content

The Department of Internal Affairs will double its work investigating and preventing violent extremism online. Funding will also help bolster the Chief Censor's work to make fast decisions about harmful content. More>>


Could Do Better: Post-Sroubek Review Of Deportation Info

Ms Tremain acknowledges that the review highlighted some aspects of the process that can be improved and makes five main recommendations to strengthen the existing processes for preparing files for decision-makers. Those recommendations are: More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A New Book On The Leaky Homes Scandal

We all know that journalism is short of cash and under pressure from the speed, brevity and clickbait pressures of the 24/7 news cycle… but hey, given the right subject and a sufficiently stubborn journalist, it can still surpass most of the works of the academic historians... More>>




InfoPages News Channels