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Focus should be on conservation, not reclassifying land


21 August 2013 - for immediate use

Focus should be on conservation, not reclassifying stewardship land - Straterra

Reclassifying stewardship land is unnecessary because the land is already protected for conservation, and conservation today reflects the values in the land, Straterra says.

Straterra CEO Chris Baker was commenting today on the report tabled today by the Parliamentary commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright, entitled: “Investigating the future of conservation – the case of stewardship land”.

Stewardship land is conservation land protected for its “natural and historic resources” under section 25 of the Conservation Act 1987.

“Every mining proposal in New Zealand, including on conservation land is looked at on its merits, and on the effects on the values present at the site and how they would be managed, regardless of whether the area is stewardship land or a conservation park, or whatever,” Mr Baker said.

“Take Bathurst Resources: any conservation package negotiated with the Department of Conservation for access to the Denniston plateau would be informed, we would hope, by the values present in the land. The land classification is irrelevant.”

“Indeed, Dr Jan Wright says as much on page 32 of her report.”

“At the national level, the Conservation General Policy does not require DOC staff to treat stewardship land differently from other categories of conservation land. Within each conservancy, operational management is guided by a Conservation Management Strategy, outlining how different parts of the conservancy are to be managed. However, these ‘management zones’ are not based on land classifications, but on the ‘priority values’ of particular areas.”

Mr Baker said: “In conclusion, the cost of reclassifying stewardship land, which would be considerable, would greatly outweigh any benefit of doing so.”

“In addition, the introduction of statutory land management planning (in 1990), and the general policy for conservation (in 2005), has removed any need for reclassifying stewardship land because the conservation focus is on the values present, not what the land is called.”


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