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Government missing opportunity to expand national parks

21 August 2013

Government missing opportunity to expand national parks

A report released today by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) highlights that incredibly precious conservation land, classed as stewardship land, isn’t getting the protection it deserves, the Green Party said today.

The PCE’s report Investigating the future of conservation: The case of stewardship land recommends that the Department of Conservation reclassify and improve the legal status of conservation lands with significant biodiversity and other value.

“The National Government is missing an opportunity to expand existing national parks and establish several new ones,” said Green Party conservation spokesperson Eugenie Sage.

“Areas of stewardship land with outstanding values deserve investigation as potential national parks.

“The Mokihinui catchment and the Denniston Plateau in Buller, the magnificent temperate rain forests of South Westland, and the former St James Station in North Canterbury all have outstanding values that make them worthy of consideration for national park status.

“Yet under the National Government, these areas languish as stewardship land without the recognition and legal protection that national park status would provide.

“The concept of stewardship land as some sort of holding basket is outdated.

“The Minister should request the New Zealand Conservation Authority to undertake investigations into better protecting some of our stewardship conservation land as national parks.

“This would help New Zealand’s clean, green reputation at a time when it is reeling from Fonterra’s botulism scare,” said Ms Sage.

Reference:
PCE’s report on stewardship land: http://www.pce.parliament.nz/publications/all-publications/investigating-the-future-of-conservation-the-case-of-stewardship-land

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