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Karori Sanctuary Trust pleased but disappointed

Media Release from Karori Sanctuary Trust

Karori Sanctuary Trust chair Catherine Isaac says the Trust board is pleased that the SPC today reaffirmed Council’s recognition of Zealandia’s importance to the achievements of the Wellington 2040 vision and is resolved to support Zealandia in some form into the future.

“The Board is, however, disappointed that the options being put out for public consultation do not address the Trust’s concerns tabled at the SPC meeting”, Ms Isaac said.

“Naturally we want to co-operate with Council to secure Zealandia’s future. But we believe Council has not fully understood the nature of the sanctuary’s operations, its ethos, and the fact that it is a community conservation project with a very lean management structure and a heavy reliance on volunteers, members and community goodwill.

“It is hard to see any efficiencies from merging the sanctuary into a ‘super’ CCO with organisations with quite different target markets, product offerings, objectives and cultures, as proposed in the options being put forward.

“We do not believe that the potential savings identified in the options being proposed can in fact be realised, and, more importantly, we are very concerned about the risk of losing volunteers and the support of members and donors. This would in turn erode our ability to boost visitor numbers and ultimately become financially self-sustaining, and to fund and pursue our conservation and education objectives.

“We understand and share the Council’s concern to ensure Zealandia is operated efficiently and is accountable to ratepayers for any Council contributions, but note that the Council already has three representatives on our board and can appoint the chair.

“We are proud of Zealandia and the huge contribution of its members, volunteers, sponsors, donors, partners, visitors, management and staff have made to enriching Wellington for the benefit of its citizens, and New Zealand nationally. Zealandia is a long-term project and we ask Council to look at its investment from a long-term perspective and weigh up the risks against the potential benefits.”

Ms Isaac says the Council proposal is now out for public consultation and the board strongly encourages the community to have a say. While a preferred option is presented, the Council remains open to modifying their position to reflect public feedback.


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