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Protecting our native heritage for all

Hon Steve Chadwick
Minister of Conservation

6 November 2008 Media Statement
Protecting our native heritage for all

Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick today released Labour’s conservation policy and confirmed the Party’s commitment to protecting New Zealand’s natural environment for all New Zealanders.

“Labour has a proud history of protecting our native heritage. Over the last nine years we have made major conservation gains including opening nine public conservation parks and nearly doubling the number of marine reserves,” Steve Chadwick said.

The policy comes as concern grows among the conservation sector at reported comments by Nick Smith, that National would be happy for our National Parks to become privately owned.

“Nick Smith has let their real agenda slip out. Privatising public conservation land would require tearing up the National Parks Act and make a mockery of our National Parks – which are created for the preservation of our heritage for all New Zealanders, not for private interests.

“Smith’s suggestion that National parks in the high country could also be run as farms, would block access for hunting or recreation, and guarantee the preservation of nothing.”

Labour’s policy includes a commitment to completing a network of public conservation parks in the south island high country.

“Our country is internationally known for its pristine natural environment, and Labour will continue to prioritise the protection and promotion of our natural world.”

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Labour will:
• Progressively eradicate predators from offshore islands – including Rangitoto and Motutapu islands in the Hauraki Gulf
• Develop a conservation apprenticeship programme
• Ensure DOC continues to play a leading role in maintaining our biodiversity and advocating for conservation
• Facilitate the completion of Te Araroa – our national walkway that aims to connect Cape Reinga to the Bluff
• Implement a network of marine reserves and other protected areas with the aim of protecting 10 per cent of our marine environment.

ENDS

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