Proposals aimed at user-friendly, up-to-date conservation processes
Public feedback is being sought on proposed changes to improve management planning and concession processes in conservation legislation.
“Management strategies and plans are key tools which help manage natural and historic resources by providing guidance on what can and cannot be done in our national parks and conservation areas,” Conservation Minister Kiri Allan said.
“The way we view and use conservation land is constantly evolving, but a significant proportion of the almost 40 conservation management strategies and plans, and national park management plans are overdue to be reviewed and no longer reflect what local communities want, or the latest environmental science. That has led to frustration across the board.
“Part of that tension is because guidance or limits on specific activities, like mountain biking or aircraft landings, cannot be easily updated to reflect changes in how people want to connect with and use conservation land and waters.
“The Department of Conservation manages over 4,600 active concessions and receives around 1,000 concession applications each year. The concessions system is used by a range of people, from tourism operators, to researchers, to farmers.
“However existing requirements mean that processing applications can be slow and costly, and frustrations are often felt where decisions are delayed, or opportunities are missed.
“The Conservation Management and Processes (CMAP) Bill is focused on making practical targeted amendments to make the tools within the conservation planning framework more user-friendly for everyone.
“Part of a wider law reform process to address a number of long standing problems in conservation law.conservation these changes seek to make immediate improvements to better deliver conservation outcomes.
“The proposals focus on three key areas:
- The ability to develop and review statutory management strategies and plans
- The ability to process and manage a range of activities to be undertaken on public conservation lands and waters through the concessions process
- The ability to resolve or clarify miscellaneous minor or technical legislative amendments (i.e., update definitions or terminologies).
“While the proposed Bill does not provide options on more comprehensive conservation reform, this interim work is important from a regulatory perspective. It allows us to keep our house in order while we work towards long-term reform of the conservation legislation framework.
“Other work is already underway to improve processes for stewardship land review and reclassification, increase marine protection for the Hauraki Gulf and consider wider marine protection reform, and improve the Trade in Endangered Species Act 1989.
“Ensuring that conservation legislation is up to date, enduring and reflective of our values is vital if we want the next generation to enjoy the special place we call home,” Kiri Allan said.