• Nick Smith

Protesters Have Until Friday to Remove Illegal Structures
Conservation Minister Nick Smith today welcomed agreement by Lake Waikaremoana protesters that breaches of the National Parks Act and Conservation Act would cease immediately, but said that the illegal structures would need to be removed by Friday to avoid a forced eviction.

"The protesters have agreed to remove the dogs, horses, generator and chainsaws and have agreed not to use their incinerator. They have also given an assurance that visitors to the park will not be interfered with, or intimidated in any way. These steps are welcome and have avoided the need for immediate action. However, the Department also requires the removal of the illegal structures and an end to the occupation by Friday, 6th March."

"The Department of Conservation is open to ongoing dialogue on the issues of pollution in the lake, possum control, halting the decline of kiwi numbers and logging adjacent to Te Urewera National Park. These are issues on which the Department is attempting to do its best, but I have no doubt we can do better. However, on the issues of illegal structures, there is no room for compromise."

Mr Smith said there would be ongoing discussions this week to try and get the agreement of protesters to voluntarily relinquish the site and dismantle the buildings. In the event this could not be achieved, the Department of Conservation would refer this matter to the Police.