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October 2014
Read DOC's briefing to the incoming Minister of Conservation on their portfolio, the Department of Conservation, and our work.

Read DOC's briefing to the incoming Minister of Conservation on their portfolio, the Department of Conservation, and our work.

This document has been proactively released, consistent with provisions of the Official Information Act 1982.


  1. Introduction
  2. Overview
  3. Upcoming matters
  4. Powers, functions and responsibilities
  5. Your department
  6. Institutional arrangements
  7. Appendix 1: Legislation
  8. Appendix 2: Maps

1. Introduction

Welcome to the conservation portfolio.

This briefing sets out your role and functions as Minister of Conservation and the Department of Conservation's (DOC's) mandate, functions and organisation. It outlines major policy and implementation issues, and identifies upcoming matters for your decision.

As Minister of Conservation, you are responsible for overseeing DOC's management of a third of New Zealand's land area and the natural and historic resources that it contains, together with the protection of native wildlife elsewhere.

DOC was established by the Conservation Act 1987. It is charged with promoting conservation of the natural and historic heritage of New Zealand on behalf of, and for the benefit of, present and future New Zealanders. Its Māori name, Te Papa Atawhai, means 'a treasure chest of care'. Our work sits at the very heart of New Zealand's nationhood, or what it is to be Kiwi (our 'Kiwiness').

The Department has functions that go beyond the boundaries of public conservation lands and waters. It protects marine mammals, indigenous freshwater fisheries, recreational fisheries and freshwater habitats, and is responsible for conserving indigenous wildlife wherever it lives.

DOC's vision is that New Zealand is the greatest living space on earth—a place where, increasingly, the knowledge and commitment of New Zealanders is focused on restoring and sustaining a natural environment that is flourishing and an example to the world of people respecting nature and living in harmony with it. It recognises that the wellbeing and prosperity of New Zealanders and our nation depends on the conservation of a healthy functioning environment. This includes, for example, clean water and air; healthy, natural foods; intact nutrient, water, energy and carbon cycles; abundant and secure biodiversity; and a vast choice of recreational options and spaces.

This perspective is reflected in the Department's day-to-day operations, working to your priorities as Minister and the Government's objectives. This briefing should be read in conjunction with the Briefing to the Incoming Ministers from the Natural Resources Sector.

2. Overview

The Department of Conservation (DOC) is charged with promoting conservation of the natural and historic heritage of New Zealand on behalf of, and for the benefit of, present and future New Zealanders.

This briefing introduces you to the conservation portfolio and sets out DOC's mandate, functions, challenges and strategic approaches for achieving environmental, social and economic outcomes for the benefit of all New Zealanders.

2.1 Why conservation matters


New Zealand's natural heritage shapes the country's cultural identity. New Zealanders identify strongly with conservation lands and waters. For many, recreation in the outdoors helps to improve health and wellbeing and contributes to a sense of personal achievement. For others, a regrowth in interest in conservation issues has been sparked by recent natural disasters and development proposals.

The benefits of conservation are, however, even more widespread and penetrate more deeply into our economy, our prosperity and our future wellbeing as a country.

Conservation protects natural capital and delivers the infrastructure on which many of
New Zealand's key industries depend. Sound management of the natural environment delivers ecosystem services such as fresh water and fertile soil, and these in turn underpin New Zealand's primary production sector, provide high quality drinking water and determine New Zealanders' prosperity.

Conservation contributes strongly to tourism. The destinations for domestic and international visitors alike are primarily associated with public conservation lands and waters, and protected species. The businesses that support or complement tourism are major contributors to our national, regional and local economies.

Conservation plays a critical role in supporting the New Zealand brand—the market advantage on which New Zealand producers and society rely. Investing in conserving and protecting our natural resources is investing in New Zealand's long-term wellbeing and prosperity, as well as protecting its natural heritage for future generations.

Biodiversity is declining

New Zealand's native flora and fauna are unique. Around 90% of New Zealand birds and insects, 80% of our plants and all of our reptiles, frogs and bats are found nowhere else in the world.

Despite a significant proportion of the country being public conservation land, New Zealand has one of the highest proportions of threatened species and one of the highest extinction rates in the world. This is because its natural landscapes have been fragmented by hundreds of years of human settlement and because of acclimatised introduced species.

Unlike most other parts of the world, New Zealand's flora and fauna lack natural defences against attack from introduced predators and browsers because they evolved in isolation for over 80 million years. Conservation in New Zealand is therefore heavily weighted towards the trapping and poisoning of these introduced animals.

While biodiversity protection and recovery is being achieved in areas under intensive management, the overall trend outside of these areas is that biodiversity is declining and ecosystem services are being reduced.

On public conservation land, possums, rats and stoats devastate forests, plants and native species. These introduced predators are the greatest threat to the continued survival of many of our native birds. Without active management, many of New Zealand's iconic species cannot survive in the wild and are in danger of extinction. Without intervention, New Zealand's national symbol, the kiwi, could die out within 50 years. Many other native bird species are also vulnerable to decline.

On private land and public waterways, developments that substantially modify the land have significant impacts on increasingly rare and threatened native species and ecosystems, particularly in unprotected lowland areas. Lowland forests, sand dunes, streams, wetlands and sub-alpine tussock grasslands are all under-represented on protected lands.

The loss or decline of native species can lead to cascading ecological changes. For example, many native birds are important seed dispersers and pollinators of native plants. Loss of ecosystem health often leads to loss of ecosystem services through erosion and flood control, and declines in water and soil quality. Losses in lowland areas can lead to permanent loss of societal, economic and biodiversity value. Such erosion of natural capital threatens to undermine our prosperity.

Halting the decline in biodiversity

On public land, effective pest control is the single biggest determinant of ecosystem health and of biodiversity loss or gain. Less than 25% of conservation land receives interventions on key threats, with around 8% receiving possum, rat and stoat control.

Significantly increasing pest control on public conservation land, through increased spending and/or greater efficiency, is required to halt the decline in biodiversity and increase economic returns to New Zealand through improved ecosystem services.

This challenge was brought to a head this year with the plague of stoats and rodents that were predicted to follow a bumper year of fruiting of beech trees (the beech mast). This is reported in Section 2.3 below under the heading 'Battle for Our Birds'.

On private land, the biggest difference to biodiversity loss involves working with the Natural Resources Sector and the primary production sector to promote good practice for sustainable farming/land use, improving the quality of our streams and rivers, increasing pest control and restoring degraded habitats. This work will maximise the value of available natural resources to New Zealanders.

Recreation and tourism

New Zealanders and international visitors are attracted to public conservation lands and waters by the sights and sounds of wild nature, qualities of remoteness, peace and natural quiet, recreational challenges, opportunities to connect with New Zealand's heritage, or just to get away from the pressures of modern living.

DOC sits at the heart of New Zealand's tourism industry, with 35% of all international visitors coming primarily to experience New Zealand's natural landscapes. We anticipate that 2014/15 will be New Zealand's biggest ever tourism season, with the potential for tourism to be the number one foreign exchange earner. DOC manages most of New Zealand's major natural tourism attractions and provides extensive opportunities for recreation on conservation land and waterways. It also manages historic places that are remnants of New Zealand's historical heritage. An important part of managing for the outcome that 'our history is protected and brought to life' is to recognise that, through public visits and interpretation, DOC is helping to bring New Zealand's history to life and is fostering a greater appreciation of the value of the historic places in people's lives today.

DOC is focused on increasing participation through understanding and responding to visitor preferences. Priority is given to 'icon' destinations that underpin New Zealand tourism, and to family friendly 'gateways' where New Zealanders can be introduced to the outdoors and connect with conservation. Other 'front country' destinations that are treasured by local communities, and the basic backcountry network, will continue to be managed for visitors, prioritising those places that can deliver the most benefit to New Zealand. The likely changes resulting from this focus require the Department to consult and work closely with others, including tourism and recreation providers, local authorities, recreational and conservation groups, and iwi, to ensure it is responding effectively to visitor preferences and to share conservation management.

2.2 The Department of Conservation

Vision and outcomes

DOC is working towards a vision that "New Zealand is the greatest living space on earth". This vision reflects a desire to be prosperous in all ways—rich in social, economic and environmental health, wealth and wellbeing.

It is a vision that is much bigger than DOC and conservation alone. It recognises that conservation has more than just intrinsic value and it forms the foundation of DOC's strategy—that conservation benefits, and is the responsibility of, all New Zealanders.

To achieve this vision, DOC's outcome statement is that "New Zealanders gain environmental, social and economic benefits from healthy functioning ecosystems, from recreational opportunities, and from living our history".

DOC has developed five intermediate outcomes under which its work is organised:

  • The diversity of our natural heritage is maintained and restored
  • Our history is protected and brought to life
  • More people participate in recreation
  • More people engage with conservation and value its benefits
  • Conservation gains from more business partnerships.

Although each of the intermediate outcomes has a specific focus, they are not mutually exclusive. For example, conserving natural heritage provides opportunities for recreation and for businesses, which helps to increase engagement.

Strategic approach

New Zealanders want their natural and historical heritage conserved but, to foster that commitment, people must see that it has value for the enjoyment and benefit of the community, now and for future generations.

DOC has, accordingly, developed the following statement for its strategic direction, to guide its approach to its work: "The overarching purpose of the Department is to increase the value that New Zealanders attribute to conservation".

This leads to enhanced care of New Zealand's unique heritage for people to benefit from and enjoy. To do this, the Department will:

  • seek to entrench conservation as an essential part of the sustainable social and economic future of New Zealand
  • be recognised as an effective manager of the lands, waters, species, historic places and roles entrusted to it
  • lead, guide and facilitate conservation gains throughout New Zealand, wherever conservation is most needed
  • weigh society's values, nature's inherent qualities and scientific criteria in its decision-making
  • promote outdoor recreation for New Zealanders, especially through fostering recreation, use and enjoyment on conservation land.

Working with others

DOC has entered into some bold new programmes with others to grow the conservation achievement in New Zealand. Our involvement in transformational projects such as 'Predator Free New Zealand', 'Kiwis for Kiwi', partnerships with Air New Zealand and Fonterra and a huts maintenance arrangement with Federated Mountain Clubs are examples.

DOC has an outward-looking focus. We have redesigned our organisational structure and frontline activities to deliver conservation outcomes in partnership with others, supported by a cost-effective, centralised, shared services organisational model.

The intrinsic value of nature has a strong appeal to many. DOC has an important role in helping policy makers, business, iwi, private landowners, local and regional governments, non-governmental organisations, central government agencies, community groups and the wider community appreciate the full contribution of conservation to prosperity and to New Zealand's wellbeing.

By broadening the message and helping others to understand how nature, in good working order, is critical to their prosperity, we anticipate that they will be more willing to invest time, effort and resources in the conservation of New Zealand's biodiversity.

Working with business

There is a significant potential for both the conservation and business sector to benefit from a partnership approach with DOC. Businesses benefit from their relationships with DOC, including the access that it provides to conservation knowledge and an association with a strong New Zealand brand. Gains are achieved for conservation from the additional contribution to biodiversity management, outdoor participation and access to new audiences.

Embedding conservation within New Zealand business is therefore an important focus for the Department. 

DOC has a Commercial Partnership Unit to help develop and maintain strong strategic partnerships that are based on a win–win philosophy for business and conservation.

Areas of strategic interest for business development include tourism and primary industry. In particular, the Department is working with the Sustainable Business Council, which has a membership that contributes 28% of New Zealand's gross domestic product.

Working with community groups and volunteers

The contribution to conservation work from organisations and people enables more of New Zealand's natural and cultural heritage to be protected and restored than the Department could ever achieve by working alone. In this way, New Zealanders benefit from connecting with their conservation lands and waters.

DOC is establishing new systems, tools and strategies that enable agencies, iwi, organisations and individuals to make a much bigger contribution to conservation and to benefit from that association. This includes adopting a much more customer-focused approach. DOC is currently working in partnership with over 600 iwi and community organisations that are involved in conservation and recreation management at sites on public conservation and other public and private land throughout the country. Most of the work undertaken by these partners is unpaid and resourced by multiple funding sources from various government agencies, business and other donors, including the newly established Community Conservation Partnerships Fund.

Working with local councils

DOC is increasingly engaging strategically with local councils to improve coordination and management of biodiversity and ecosystem services, including at a catchment level. Examples include working with Hawke's Bay Regional Council on joint planning of integrated catchment management and working with the Auckland Council on marine spatial planning, tourism and destination development, and biosecurity of pest-free islands in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.

Representatives from the Hawke's Bay, Horizons and Greater Wellington regional councils and DOC signed a relationship agreement in 2012, after identifying initiatives for strategic alliances to improve natural resource management in the Lower North Island. The aim is to make it easier for those involved in natural resource management to act together in the best interests of the region and New Zealand as a whole.

The group (Nature Central) believes effective strategic alliances will deliver better results and more value to the community with increased social, environmental, cultural and economic benefits across regions. An example of this is enabling the organisations to share training opportunities across organisations that help staff work more collaboratively, offering users a consistent point of information about parks and their values, and a collaborative approach to pest management.

We will build on this work to identify common areas of focus, approach and methods of strategic and operational service delivery across our operations and those of regional councils to deliver better services, more quickly and with greater effect.

Prioritising to maximise efficiency

DOC is developing and refining models and decision criteria to clarify the choices in its natural heritage work. Priorities are set using a sophisticated model that is based on sound science and on the objective of conserving a full range of ecosystems, taking into account resource requirements.

Preventing further species extinctions and ensuring that New Zealand retains high quality examples of all the different types of ecosystems is DOC's traditional core work and will continue to receive a significant share of resources. Further developments are under way to incorporate values in respect of species and local treasures.

The Department has developed a Destination Management Framework as an equivalent model for managing visitor expectations. It does this by connecting management activities in tourist destinations that are traditionally undertaken in isolation (for example, a destination's values, attractions, people, infrastructure, access and marketing). This framework helps to create desirable, customer-focused, demand-driven experiences.

Research and innovation

Science, research and innovation are important for achieving more efficient approaches and productivity gains in conservation. Pest control is expensive. A significant focus is making pest control more effective, efficient and innovative, and sharing this knowledge with our partners in conservation work. We have been successful in this approach. For example, in the past 10 years, the cost per hectare of possum control has been reduced in real terms by 38%.

Other tools, knowledge and techniques that we have been developing focus on improving our understanding of the outcomes that we can achieve from particular management activities and on better understanding, mitigating and offsetting biodiversity loss from development opportunities.

DOC science staff have been influential in the development of 5 of the 11 National Science Challenges. The most relevant challenges to DOC (Biological Heritage, Sustainable Seas, Deep South, Our Land and Water and Resilience to Nature's Challenges) represent a new way for science and state sector agencies to collaborate on the big science questions facing New Zealand. Government has invested significant new funding into this new way of addressing the most complex human and environmental problems facing the country. DOC science staff will continue to participate in a positive way and contribute their own unique expertise into the process of achieving better outcomes for conservation and NZ Inc.

Delivering cost savings and maximising organisational efficiency

DOC undertook a full review of its support services roles in 2011/12, resulting in a reduction of 96 full-time equivalents and a fundamental shift to providing a 'shared services' model for support and service functions across the organisation. In 2013/14, the Delivery Review Project redefined and implemented the future operating model and structure for conservation operational delivery. The project has implemented a delivery structure producing estimated savings of $4 million for 2013/14 and $4.8 million for 2014/15 per annum ongoing.

DOC is contributing to the Government's Better Public Services by working with businesses and community groups to deliver benefits to New Zealanders, making improvements to efficiency and effectiveness of work programmes, working with the Natural Resources Sector on the Government's medium-term priorities and bringing more services online to customers.

DOC's wider role

The Department's activities extend well beyond conservation alone. For example, it contributes equipment and staff to emergency response operations throughout New Zealand, including fire, extreme weather events, earthquakes, major accidents and search and rescue needs. It has supported the Police, Fire Service, Civil Defence and Maritime New Zealand in this work.

In recent years, DOC has played major roles in responses to the Christchurch earthquakes, the Pike River mine disaster and the grounding of the container ship, Rena, in the Bay of Plenty.

In many communities, particularly in remote and rural areas, DOC staff are the only face of government. Frontline staff are involved in their community at every level and are part of the socio-economic life of their communities.

Performance Improvement Framework (PIF)

DOC is focused on two primary areas arising from the PIF Review:

Purpose and outcomes—continue to mature DOC's purpose and outcomes and develop a compelling story of the value of conservation to New Zealand;

Operating model—align and integrate the organisation to realise the goals and intentions of the strategic direction set out in the Four-year Plan. This includes transforming the way we work to engage more with partners, underpinned by integrated systems, building new capability to enable engagement with others, and enhancing the things we do well on a larger scale and building in the more complex relationships developed across sectors.

2.3 Key issues over the next 3 years

Conservation is at the heart of the nation's identity. Growing conservation, and working with others to do this, is DOC's business. The Department engages with others, both within and beyond public conservation areas, to protect New Zealand's biodiversity, bring our heritage alive and help New Zealanders and visitors to enjoy our heritage. This requires collaboration across central and local government with both private landowners and with business.

We want every New Zealander to be able to share in the inspiration provided by nature and New Zealand's heritage: to delight in its complexity while connecting with its simple pleasures.

Treaty of Waitangi settlements offer excellent opportunities for confirming ongoing partnerships and strengthening relationships between DOC and iwi as primary partners. As settlements are implemented, iwi have a greater role and influence in the governance of public conservation land. DOC sees this as creating new opportunities to enhance conservation. An ongoing challenge is to ensure that the governance mechanisms are fit for purpose, cost-effective for the Crown and iwi and are connected to the existing public governance of conservation land.

DOC is working with the Natural Resources Sector as an important government cluster. The sector has identified a number of key themes for the next 3 years. DOC will therefore be working closely with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), Ministry for the Environment, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Te Puni Kōkiri and Land Information New Zealand to deliver the outcomes discussed below.

Fresh water

Fresh water is an abundant natural resource in New Zealand, compared with many other countries. DOC has a function to preserve so far as is practicable all indigenous freshwater fisheries, and to protect recreational freshwater fisheries and freshwater fish habitats (Conservation Act 1987 section 6(ab)). DOC also manages significant freshwater areas, including wetlands and lakes, and the headwater catchments from which high quality water flows as an ecosystem service to benefit economic, social and cultural outcomes for New Zealand.

Increasing demands for fresh water over recent decades have impacted on water quality in many parts of the country. A large increase in abstraction of water over the past two decades has also reduced water quantity in a number of catchments. These pressures have led to a consequent loss of freshwater biological and ecological values, and have impacted on the management requirements of land, water and species for which the Department has responsibility. In response, DOC is forming partnerships and representing its statutory interests in planning forums and in consent cases.

DOC is also part of the whole-of-government work programme on freshwater management, and is conducting research and management trials to improve outcomes for indigenous freshwater species. The Department's highest priority will be to protect wetlands of international importance listed under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and rivers with high conservation value. A $20 million partnership with Fonterra ('Living Waters') is essential to advancing this. DOC will continue to work with the Ministry for the Environment and MPI to find better solutions for retaining the value derived from fresh water.

Coastal management

You are responsible for national direction under the Resource Management Act 1991 for the coastal marine area (territorial sea) and the coastal environment, through preparation of the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement (NZCPS). The current NZCPS, prepared in 2010, sets national policies to achieve sustainable management in the coastal environment. It is given effect through the Resource Management Act. The Department has a work programme in partnership with local government to ensure that district and regional councils are well informed about the requirements of the NZCPS 2010 and are supported to implement its policies.

You have a number of roles under the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011, including recommending regulations and making bylaws for the management of the common marine and coastal area. The Department is working with the Ministry of Justice to draft regulations relating to the ownership of abandoned structures in relation to this Act.

You may also perform the managerial or administrative functions that are contemplated by the Act, but not conferred on anybody else. You are the decision-maker in respect of outstanding applications to vest reclaimed coastal land where the applicant has not requested its application to be decided by the Minister of Lands.

Marine protection

New Zealanders value the wide range of benefits that the nation derives from its marine environment, and the efforts to balance marine protection and resource use. Collaborative forums (similar to the approach of the Land and Water Forum but applied at a regional level) have been established, by DOC and MPI, under the Marine Protected Areas Policy.

The first two forums have delivered recommendations that the Government has endorsed for balanced marine protection, seeing marine protection established for the subantarctic islands and on the South Island's West Coast. Other collaborative processes include an Otago forum, and marine spatial planning for the Hauraki Gulf, led by councils and supported by DOC and MPI. Work on threatened marine species is also conducted collaboratively with iwi, businesses and environmental non-governmental organisations (e-NGOs).

Nevertheless, there are still significant marine ecosystems that are not within marine protected areas. Improvements to New Zealand's legislative framework for marine protection would help to ensure protected status for marine areas in the territorial seas and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). There is no provision for marine reserves in the EEZ, and the current Marine Reserves Act 1971 does not provide for effective collaborative planning or recognition of the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011, or for a purpose other than scientific study to lead to the establishment of marine protected areas.

Development of new marine protection legislation would address limitations in the Marine Reserves Act 1971, remove the need to use area-specific legislation and duplicate consultation to protect an area formally once the work of a forum has been accepted by the Government.

There is an opportunity for New Zealand to be a world leader in managing oceans, given the international recognition of its fisheries management, large EEZ and the potential to provide a more balanced framework for marine protection within the marine environment.

Climate adaptation

Climate change is likely to cause significant alterations to DOC's work and where management occurs, due to alteration of the local climate and more frequent severe storms. It is also expected to impact on recreation and tourism facilities in places most exposed to storm events. New or increased numbers of predators and weeds can be expected, producing additional pressure on ecosystems and threatened species. Managing for ecosystem resilience will therefore be increasingly important. In a warmer climate, more frequent storm events are likely to create disturbance that favours wilding pines and pest incursions. Already, DOC believes that the subantarctic island ecosystems are the 'canary in the mine', indicating where climate-connected changes seem to be exacerbating a decline in albatross species and in the New Zealand sea lion population.

The Department needs to be increasingly agile to deal with financial demands and management challenges arising from this. Continuing conservation efforts (partnerships) with others will be vital on land where species can be protected with appropriate management.


Kiwi are likely to be lost from mainland New Zealand within our grandchildren's lifetimes. DOC is making a difference where it actively manages areas of public conservation land, but it manages just a fraction of what is needed. On private land, as a country, we also face the continued and often increasing loss of some of our most rare and threatened species and habitats. Current policy settings and incentives relating to protecting biodiversity on private land are not sufficient to turn the tide of loss, risking permanent loss of New Zealand's most important biodiversity and subsequent loss of environmental services to the economy and society.

Pest management

The greatest threat to New Zealand's native fauna is predation by introduced animals, such as stoats and rats. Climate variability is expected to shift how pests (wasps, non-native incursions like rainbow skinks) and predators are distributed, and to extend where they impact. DOC uses a range of pest control methods, including aerial applications of 1080 poison.

1080 is a contentious pest control tool but remains the most cost-effective one available for possums and rats, particularly over steep and remote terrain. Its use allows the management of predators across whole landscapes and is vital in the control of bovine tuberculosis (TB). DOC and TBfree New Zealand work strongly together on pest control operations.

The use of 1080 has been the subject of two major independent scientific reviews and an investigation by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment. The Parliamentary Commissioner's report in 2011 'Evaluating the Use of 1080', concluded that "not only should the use of 1080 continue (including in aerial operations) to protect our forests but that we should use more of it".

Battle for Our Birds

A particularly severe threat is being faced this year (2014) from a plague of stoats and rodents, generated by a bumper year in the fruiting of beech trees (the beech mast). The resulting abundance of food for mice allows their population to increase. Mice are a significant food source for rats and stoats. When seed supplies run out, and the mouse population decreases, predators will turn on endangered birds and other at-risk species like bats and land snails. DOC's 'Battle for Our Birds' predator control programme provides targeted aerial protection with biodegradable 1080 pesticide and boosts ground-based trapping networks to combat the increased number of predators.

The Battle for our Birds programme has the potential to be transformational for the conservation of New Zealand's natural landscapes and to have significant benefits for agriculture.

In future mast years, the Department may need to move budgets between years, or reprioritise planned work, to respond to the biodiversity threat.

Recreation and tourism

As the agency responsible for managing one-third of New Zealand's most spectacular and diverse areas (including over 50% of the South Island), the Department plays a vital role in New Zealand's $24 billion recreation and tourism industry. Increasingly, the tourism industry's significant contribution to conservation is being recognised, with many of its iconic drawcards being located on public conservation land, including Piopiotahi, Milford Sound, Aoraki Mount Cook and the Tongariro Crossing.

The Department is working with recreation groups and the tourism industry on short-, medium- and long-term actions that will deliver longer-term benefits for tourism and recreation while benefiting conservation.

By looking after many of the places, stories and culture that have shaped us as a nation, DOC is helping New Zealanders to connect with their past, and to provide their children and grandchildren with a legacy that links them to their heritage. DOC is doing this by working closely with the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, NZ Tourism Board, regional tourism operators and iwi.

Stewardship land and riverbeds

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment recommended that "the Department of Conservation identify areas of stewardship land that are clearly of significant conservation value and reclassify them in accordance with that value." In response, DOC has identified the following as good candidates for review and reclassification over the next 18 to 30 months:

  • St James Station and areas in the Hope River catchment
  • The Mokihinui River catchment south to the Buller River Scenic Reserve
  • Te Wāhipounamu—South West New Zealand World Heritage Area.

Four other properties purchased by the Nature Heritage Fund also require reclassification, including public consultation.

Issues with riverbed management have also been raised by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment and the New Zealand Conservation Authority. A preliminary assessment has indicated that many, or perhaps most, riverbeds within protected areas are not formally part of that area and therefore managed by Land Information New Zealand and so are potentially available for uses that are incompatible with the protected area. To ensure that all riverbeds within the public conservation estate are part of the protected area that surrounds them, existing legislation needs to be amended.

Kauri National Park

The New Zealand Conservation Authority has considered a national park investigation report into the potential for a national park to be established centred on Waipoua Forest, and recommended that a new national park be established. The Authority recommended that the support of Te Roroa be obtained before the proposal is progressed. Work with Te Roroa has been started and will need to continue if the proposal is to be progressed, taking into account other iwi interests in the forests.

3. Upcoming matters

3.1 Matters for your decision or advice

Budget 2015

A timetable for the 2015/16 Budget process is expected to be available from Treasury in January 2015. A likely timeframe is:

  • Late January 2015. Submission of Four-year Plan to Joint Ministers
  • Early April 2015. Submission of Estimates Documents to Joint Ministers
  • April 2015. Cabinet considers final Budget Cabinet paper (all departments)
  • Mid-June 2015. A draft Conservation Output Plan is scheduled to be made available for your comment. This will need your approval by the end of that month.

Four-year Plan

Discussions with you regarding your priorities for the Four-year Plan usually occur between November and February. We will seek an early opportunity to discuss a draft plan with you and ensure it meets your priorities.

Conservation Services Programme

Each year, a Conservation Services Programme Annual Plan identifies the research and observer activities to be funded by levies on the fishing industry. The 2015/16 plan is due to be presented for your approval in April 2015 following consultation with stakeholders.

Conservation board appointments

A third of the members of the 14 conservation boards have terms of appointment expiring on 30 June 2015. Approval will be sought in late November to place the public notices to begin the appointment process (section 6P Conservation Act 1987 refers).

DOC Annual Report 2013/14

The 2013/14 Annual Report is expected to be tabled in the House early in the first session. It is usual for the report to be sent to a select committee for examination. The Department (Director-General) answers any written or oral questions from the select committee.

3.2 Parliamentary business that lapsed on 14 August 2014

The 51st Parliament will consider which items of business that lapsed, with the dissolution of the 50th Parliament on 14 August 2014, will be reinstated. No Bills in the conservation portfolio lapsed on 14 August.

Bills in preparation

  • The Wildlife Smuggling Deterrence Bill

3.3 Matters for your information

Treaty of Waitangi settlements

Legislation bringing into effect several significant Treaty of Waitangi settlements has recently been passed, including settlements with Tūhoe, Tamaki Makaurau (Auckland) and Te Tau Ihu (the top of the South Island).

A number of large and complex settlements are close to conclusion. In particular, legislation for Te Hiku settlements in the Far North of the North Island are awaiting introduction into the House. Deeds of Settlement for several other iwi groups are likely to be signed by the end of 2014, including for the Hauraki Collective and 12 individual Hauraki iwi (mainly in Coromandel and the Hauraki Plains) and the Tauranga Moana Iwi Collective.

As these settlements are implemented, together with those concluded in previous years, they are changing the way DOC engages with iwi on conservation. Iwi will have a greater role and influence in the governance of public conservation land and will be the owners and managers of increasing areas of land with conservation values that are transferred in settlement. The Department sees this as creating new opportunities to enhance conservation in partnership with iwi.

Kauri dieback

Kauri dieback is the deadly kauri disease caused by Phytophthora taxon Agathis (or PTA). It is specific to New Zealand kauri and can kill trees of all ages. Microscopic spores in the soil infect kauri roots and damage the tissues that carry nutrients within the tree. In the past 10 years, kauri dieback has killed thousands of kauri in New Zealand. Scientists are currently working to find control tools for this disease, but there is no known treatment at this time.

Kauri dieback has been found in several areas including Northland, the Coromandel Peninsula, the Waitākere Ranges and Great Barrier Island. Affected locations in Northland include the Waipoua Forest and Trounson Kauri Park Scenic Reserve, representing a threat to tree health in the areas proposed for the National Park.

In response, the Kauri Dieback Long Term Management Programme has been developed under a partnership agreement between MPI, DOC, Northland Regional Council, Auckland Council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Waikato Regional Council and tangata whenua. The programme covers research into the detection and spread of kauri dieback, methods to control it and public awareness campaigns to help arrest its spread.

1080 national direction

1080 operations require permission as discharges under section 15 of the Resource Management Act 1991. While many councils have made aerial 1080 operations (done in accordance with other regulations) permitted activities, others require resource consents. A study commissioned by a consortium of 1080 users (DOC, MPI, TBfree New Zealand and regional councils) found that none of the consents addressed issues, other than those that had already been covered in the national regulations (Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 and Ministry of Health requirements), or added any additional protection for local communities.

Variable consent conditions reduce the ability of operators to ensure that best practice is guaranteed. Compliance costs can be substantial—up to 50% of the cost of an operation. A national instrument under the Resource Management Act, or agreement between councils to set consistent rules, could solve this problem. A cost–benefit analysis has found that a national instrument would deliver significant net economic benefits and far higher benefits than the regional option.

The regional option is also likely to be difficult to deliver and less likely to endure. Further work has identified a section 360 regulation under the Resource Management Act as the best type of national direction. This could be put in place by the Minister for the Environment, but the Ministry proposes that either DOC or MPI should do the preparation and maintenance of the regulation. The consortium would like to see the regulation in place for the 2015 winter control season.

Mackenzie basin

A collaborative process involving 22 national and local organisations began in 2011 to attempt to address concerns about the future of the Mackenzie basin's nationally significant natural and scenic values and intensive agricultural development. The process recognised that the changes occurring in the Mackenzie basin had implications for a wide range of values, including tourism, regional economic development, fair water allocation and New Zealand's clean green brand.

Agreement has been reached on a possible direction for managing the Mackenzie basin to maintain or restore its multiple public and farming values. The agreement proposes creation of a Mackenzie Country Trust for implementing the agreement. Options for creating a Trust have been developed by the Department.

Tongariro National Park

Tongariro National Park is a World Heritage Area (recognising its cultural and natural heritage values) and the subject of ongoing Treaty of Waitangi settlement processes. Over a number of decades, major structures have been built in the park (including staff accommodation for DOC and businesses, hotels, ski club lodges, ski field infrastructure, roads and car parks). Many such structures would not be allowed under the legislation that has been in force since 1996 as they could reasonably be located in townships just outside the park.

The developments have resulted in major infrastructure requirements including sewerage, water and electricity supply, rubbish disposal and road maintenance. DOC holds the roles that normally fall on local government in relation to infrastructure and manages the roads under an arrangement with the New Zealand Transport Agency. A major upgrade of the sewerage system will be required to cope with expected levels of use, and the cost of that may be as high as $10 million to $15 million. Businesses and clubs that would be expected to help pay for that are already expressing concerns about likely costs.

The concept of Kahui Maunga applying to Tongariro through He Kaupapa Rangatira (the philosophy of operating with a sacred maunga (mountain)) will become increasingly important to DOC and to all operators in the National Park, now and through the Treaty of Waitangi settlement process. 

Smaller roads servicing the Tongariro Alpine Crossing need major upgrades, are inadequate for the levels of use and pose a risk to pedestrians and the environment. Significant investments and major decisions on direction will be needed in the near future, including urgent works to address immediate problems with sewage management.

New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy

The Department is leading a refresh of the actions in the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy (2000–2020). It has two outcomes:

  • Development of national targets in response to the 20 global 'Aichi targets' agreed in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and
  • The preparation by mid-2015 of a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, incorporating new CBD (Aichi) objectives, any additional objectives, refreshed actions and targets.

Legislative change

The Department regularly reviews its regulatory processes to make them more efficient and easier to use by business and members of the public. These reviews frequently recommend changes to the Department's legislation.

The Department currently has limited opportunities to make these changes. Having a biennial regulatory improvement omnibus Bill would enable process and other improvements to be made. Other amendments or initiatives involving more detailed policy changes could be stand alone.

Trade in Endangered Species Act 1989

Improvements can be made to the New Zealand legislative and policy framework to ensure that traded wildlife receives the required protection and that operational administration and service to importers and exporters is efficient, effective and compliant with global norms.

The Trade in Endangered Species Act 1989 does not fully take into account the evolution of the global wildlife trade, technological advances, unforeseen implementation issues and the growth in illegal wildlife trafficking that has occurred since the Act was enacted. It has no provision to incorporate globally agreed decisions developed in the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Conference of the Parties. The Act risks becoming out of step with the international regulation of wildlife trade and how CITES is implemented globally. This has potential legal and trade implications.

The Act has not been substantially revised since its introduction. A revision, particularly of provisions related to permitting, Pre-Convention certificates and personal and household exemptions, could address some of the current limitations of the Act. This would allow DOC to address business risks, take into account globally agreed resolutions on CITES-related trade and achieve greater operational efficiencies and improved customer service.

Provisions for issuing concessions

The Department has completed a review of the procedures to grant concessions for commercial activities on public conservation land. It has identified a number of legislative changes that would be needed to streamline these procedures and align them more closely with similar processes under the Resource Management Act 1991 and the Crown Minerals Act 1991. These could include provision to enable proposals with national significance, which require a concession, resource consent and access arrangement, to be considered at a joint hearing, to reduce costs and timeframes.

Natural capital

The benefits that New Zealand derives from natural capital are critically important to its economic and social wellbeing. DOC works with the Natural Resources Sector on its common objective of understanding and demonstrating the value derived from natural capital and the ecosystem services it provides.

International research increasingly emphasises the importance of maintaining indigenous biodiversity as a means of safeguarding stocks of natural capital and ecosystem services into the future. The Department is working on understanding the roles that biodiversity, conservation and the work of the Department can play in New Zealand's prosperity. The objective of this work is to provide an evidence base to demonstrate the value of considering natural capital and ecosystem services in policy and decision-making.

4. Powers, functions and responsibilities

4.1 Leadership

As Minister of Conservation, your priorities, policies and objectives determine the Department's direction. Your key formal instruments are the annual Statement of Intent, Four-year Plan and Output Agreement, together with specific policy initiatives advanced through the Cabinet and Budget processes. You also influence policy and priorities through statutory decisions.

4.2 Responsibilities, functions and powers

Ministerial statutory decisions often affect the interests of individuals, companies or other organisations (e.g., local authorities). Affected parties may seek judicial review. The way in which you make decisions and take related actions, such as meeting interested parties, can affect their legal robustness.

You have particular roles under the following legislation. A full list of relevant statutes is included in Appendix 1.

Conservation Act 1987

The Conservation Act gives you responsibilities, functions and powers in relation to matters, including:

  • Acquiring land for conservation purposes, disposal and exchange, and the declaration of special forms of protection (e.g., wilderness or ecological areas)
  • Concessions for activities on public conservation land, in the form of leases, licences, permits or easements
  • Charges for use of public conservation facilities (other than paths and tracks)
  • Appointments to the New Zealand Conservation Authority, conservation boards and Guardians of Lakes Manapouri, Monowai and Te Anau
  • Management plans for freshwater fisheries, sports fish and game
  • General policy statements, to implement the Act and for any conservation area
  • Marginal strips (the 'Queen's chain')
  • Covenants on private land, including Māori land, for conservation purposes.

Biosecurity Act 1993

The Department provides you and other government agencies with advice on risks to indigenous biodiversity and management of some biosecurity incursions. It also controls priority pests and weeds on conservation lands and contributes to the implementation of regional pest management strategies by local government.

Crown Minerals Act 1991

Areas such as national parks listed in Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act are 'off-limits' to mineral exploration or extraction. Access to other conservation land, and the public foreshore and seabed, for mineral exploration, prospecting and mining requires your approval. Mining access decisions require joint approval by you and the Minister of Energy and Resources. That approval has to take into account criteria related to the economic, mineral and national significance of the proposal, and the purpose for which the land is held.

Fisheries Act 1996

You and the Director-General have roles under the Fisheries Act in identifying and assessing the adverse effects of fishing on the aquatic environment (notably on protected species). You also have the authority to apply Conservation Services Levies on the fishing industry to fund research and observer programmes that will help reduce those effects.

Freedom Camping Act 2011

The purpose of this Act is to address the adverse effects of camping in a location that is not a designated campground, and lacks facilities.

Game Animal Council Act 2013

The purposes of the Game Animal Council Act are: to establish the Council; to create powers for the Minister to manage herds of special interest; to allow the Minister to delegate powers to the Council; and to provide for fees and levies to fund the Council.

Kaikōura (Te Tai o Marokura) Marine Management Act 2014

This Act established several protected areas including a whale and seal sanctuary and a marine reserve. The Department and the Ministry for Primary Industries jointly administer the Act and you have functions and powers under it, including the promulgations of regulations and joint authority for appointment of an advisory committee.

Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011

This Act created a 'common marine and coastal area' out to 12 nautical miles and allows iwi and hapū to seek customary title by negotiation or through the High Court. You have coastal management responsibilities arising from the Resource Management Act 1991.

The Act provides for involvement of iwi in conservation-related processes, such as the issuing of marine mammal permits and creation of marine reserves. Where a customary marine title has been identified under the Act, the iwi may have a veto over conservation decisions, or their views may have to be given a strong weighting in the decision-making process.

Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978

This Act allows you to establish marine mammal sanctuaries to create permanent refuges for marine mammals, and to approve population management plans for marine mammal species, with the concurrence of the Minister of Fisheries. These plans can set maximum allowable levels of fishing-related mortality for the species concerned. You are also responsible for controlling the collection and trade of whalebone.

Marine Reserves Act 1971

Under the Marine Reserves Act, you can recommend the creation of marine reserves, subject to processes set out in the Act. Reserve proposals also need the concurrence of the Minister of Transport and Minister for Primary Industries.

National Parks Act 1980

The National Parks Act allows you to recommend the creation of national parks or the addition of land to them, on the recommendation of the New Zealand Conservation Authority. You also have power to grant concessions and other authorisations for activities in national parks.

Reserves Act 1977

The Reserves Act gives you a number of specific powers in relation to reserves. They are mostly delegated to the Director-General, local authorities or various reserve governance bodies. An exception is the approval of bylaws in relation to reserves. You also have power to grant concessions for activities carried out in reserves vested in the Crown or controlled and managed by administering bodies.

Resource Management Act 1991

Your functions under the Resource Management Act relate to the management of the coastal environment. They include:

  • Preparation of the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement;
  • Approval of all regional coastal plans
  • Deciding consents for Restricted Coastal Activities (a transitional function following the removal of your decision-making role in 2009)
  • Vesting rights in reclaimed land (a transitional function as the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 moved the decision-making role to the Minister of Lands)
  • Planning and consent responsibilities for the offshore islands
  • Calling-in consent applications of national significance in the coastal marine area.

Trade in Endangered Species Act 1989

The Trade in Endangered Species Act implements CITES (the international Convention on the Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna). It controls New Zealand's import and export of species listed in schedules 1–3 of the Convention.

West Coast Wind-blown Timber (Conservation Lands) Act 2014

The Department administers this Act, which allows the Director-General to authorise the removal of timber irreversibly damaged by Cyclone Ita from certain conservation areas and reserves in the West Coast region.

Wild Animal Control Act 1977

The Wild Animal Control Act gives you wide powers regarding the control of wild deer, chamois, tahr, wallabies, possums, goats and pigs. This includes approving wild animal control plans, which are in place for tahr and possums. The Act covers licensing for hunting on conservation land, including the granting of concessions.

Wildlife Act 1953

The Wildlife Act provides for protection and control of non-domesticated animals and birds, and the management of game birds. It also give you powers to propose: bringing invertebrates and marine animals under the Act; changes to levels of protection for specific species; powers relating to controls on hunting and farming of certain animals (e.g., stoats, ferrets); the taking and holding of wildlife or wildlife products; and the establishment of wildlife sanctuaries, refuges, management reserves and districts.

4.3 Delegations

An Associate Minister of Conservation may, within the designated responsibilities and with your agreement, submit papers to Cabinet or a Cabinet committee. The Department advises and supports any such appointees and their staff.

A number of statutory ministerial responsibilities are routinely delegated to the Director-General, with further delegations from the Director-General to DOC staff. All delegations are conditional on being referred to a higher level if this is warranted by the issues involved, including: sensitive conservation values and political, social, economic or Treaty of Waitangi implications.

If the Director-General considers a matter of sufficient national interest or importance, you will be asked whether it should be decided under delegation or referred to you for decision, regardless of any standing delegation.

4.4 Key ministerial relationships

Minister Issues
Arts, Culture and Heritage Historic conservation
Climate Change Issues Climate change impacts and adaptation
Economic Development Aquaculture, bioprospecting, regional development
Education Enviroschools programme
Energy and Resources Renewable energy, minerals and petroleum on public conservation lands
Environment Resource Management Act and Exclusive Economic Zone issues,
sustainability, Biodiversity Strategy, climate change impacts and adaptation, aquaculture, freshwater, environmental reporting, hazardous substances and new organisms control
Finance Budget round, all proposals requiring additional resources
Foreign Affairs All matters relating to international treaties
Justice/Attorney-General Marine and coastal area administration and redress
Land Information South Island high country (tenure review), management and transfer of unallocated Crown lands (e.g., riverbeds)
Local Government Resource Management Act issues, Treaty settlements, Reserves Act administration
Maori Affairs Maori interests in conservation land, appointments to statutory bodies, heritage protection, freshwater fisheries, Treaty settlements, marine and coastal areas
Primary Industries Agriculture: Biosecurity, possum control (TBFree NZ) border control, climate change
Fisheries: Marine biodiversity, marine protected areas, Conservation Services Programme, protected species (seabirds, corals and marine mammal) bycatch
Forestry: sustainable indigenous forestry, South Island Landless Natives Act 1906 (SILNA)
Science and Innovation Science challenges, Conservation research
Sport and Recreation Recreation in conservation areas, outdoor recreation
State Services Chief Executive's performance, machinery of government issues
Tourism Nature tourism, tourism opportunities on public conservation lands
Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Treaty negotiations involving cultural redress (public conservation land)
and protocols

5. Your department

5.1 What we do

DOC was established by the Conservation Act 1987 and has powers and functions under other Acts. The Act defines conservation as "the preservation and protection of natural and historic resources for the purpose of maintaining their intrinsic values, providing for their appreciation and recreational enjoyment by the public, and safeguarding the options of future generations".

The Department's main functions, as set out in the Conservation Act, are to:

  • Manage land and other natural and historic resources held under the Act
  • Preserve as far as practicable all indigenous freshwater fisheries, protect recreational fisheries and freshwater habitats
  • Advocate the conservation of natural and historic resources
  • Promote the benefits of conservation (including in Antarctica and internationally)
  • Provide conservation information
  • Foster recreation and allow tourism, to the extent that such activities are not inconsistent with the conservation of any natural or historic resource.

Conservation is based on public support and on the concept that conservation land is the common heritage of all New Zealanders. All conservation legislation captures the essence of conservation land as being public land. DOC has specific roles in conserving protected indigenous species and threatened non-protected species. This requires engagement with iwi, private landowners, resource users and councils, as well as community groups and environmental non-governmental organisations.

Much of DOC's work takes place on the more than 8 million hectares of public conservation land. That land includes 14 national parks, 36 conservation parks, hundreds of reserves, many offshore and subantarctic islands and numerous other places, such as historic sites.

DOC administers 44 marine reserves and 6 marine mammal sanctuaries, totalling 4,115,669 hectares. In addition, one whale sanctuary, totalling 468,600 hectares, and one seal sanctuary have recently been established under the Kaikōura (Te Tai o Marokura) Marine Management Act 2014. DOC also has a role in administering the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park and the Sugar Loaf Islands Marine Protected Area.

DOC contributes to the conservation and sustainable management of natural and historic heritage in areas for which it is not directly responsible. It does this through such statutes as the Resource Management Act, Fisheries Act, Biosecurity Act, Forestry Act, Forest and Rural Fires Act and the Crown Pastoral Land Act.

DOC advocates generally for the conservation of natural and historic resources, provides conservation information and promotes the economic, environmental and social benefits of conservation.

DOC encourages recreation opportunities on the lands and waters it manages. It manages historic sites and visitor facilities, including walking, biking and four-wheel-drive tracks, huts, campsites and visitor centres. Its tracks stretch for 14,200 kilometres—about 3000 kilometres further than the state highway network and, along the way, there are 950 huts. The range and number of recreation opportunities that can be offered is extended by cooperation with private operators, through more than 1000 longer-term concessions for recreation activities.

5.2 Working with you


Your most regular personal contact with departmental officials is likely to be through meetings with the Director-General and senior managers, but other staff are available as needed. Meetings are coordinated through your Senior Private Secretary and Conservation Private Secretary.


The Department aims to minimise the demands on your time and the volume of ministerial paperwork. Much of your engagement with this portfolio, however, is through papers, including Cabinet papers, briefings and correspondence.

  • Cabinet papers are drafted by the Department, often with input from your office staff. Consultation with other departments is managed by DOC and consultation with other ministers is managed by your office.
  • Correspondence is managed by your office, with the help of National Office staff who coordinate drafting, track progress and maintain records.
  • Briefings can be requested by you or initiated by the Department. Staff are always available to speak to briefings as required.
  • Statutory decision reports set out the matters you should consider when making statutory decisions.

Statement of Intent

Changes to the Public Finance Act mean that the Department's Statement of Intent is now contained in the first section of its Four-year Plan.

Four-year Plan

The Four-year Plan is a departmental document that sets out the strategic intent over the 4 years, risks, trade-offs and capability requirements. It incorporates both budget and workforce strategies over this timeframe. While it is a departmental document, it is produced in partnership with you and provides a full picture of how the Department intends to deliver on government priorities.

It no longer contains Budget Initiatives, which are a separate but linked process in the lead-up to the Budget each year and involve the Minister, Department and Treasury.

Output Plan

The Department's Output Plan is an agreement with you on your ministerial priorities over the medium term and the output services that the Department will deliver along with their associated performance measures. Outputs and measures are set out in sufficient detail to allow clear allocation of resources and management responsibility. We report three times a year to you against the Output Plan.


Budget planning has an initial strategic phase in which you, your staff and the Department determine the overall direction and priorities. This is followed by the initiatives (or bids) phase in which you and the Department develop specific proposals, which are assessed by Treasury.

We work with you and your staff to identify, cost and prioritise bids. Treasury is consulted on all proposals involving new spending, and other departments are consulted as necessary. We help you prepare for budget meetings with other ministers, including the Minister of Finance.

Final Cabinet decisions on the Budget are usually made around April to May.


The Estimates are published on Budget day. They outline the Government's planned costs for the coming year, by output class within each vote, and how performance will be measured. They require your signature.

Public engagements and communications

The Department works with your staff to provide advice and support for your public engagements and communications. This can include briefings, logistical support, draft speech notes and other written material. We advise you of opportunities to participate in significant public events concerning conservation, and we look for opportunities to familiarise you with our operations and public conservation land.

Treaty of Waitangi/Kaupapa Atawhai

Section 4 of the Conservation Act 1987 requires the Department to interpret and administer the Act so as to give effect to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. This is a strong requirement, reflecting the importance to Māori of the lands and resources that the Department manages.

Our approach to this responsibility—our Kaupapa Atawhai—involves building and supporting effective conservation partnerships with tangata whenua. The Department employs specialist staff to support this approach.

The Department also has a growing range of management and consultation arrangements with iwi arising from Treaty of Waitangi settlements.

5.3 Who we work with


As conservation is an investment in New Zealand's wellbeing and prosperity, we develop and implement commercial opportunities and activities that:

  • Build productive business partnerships that deliver conservation gains
  • Increase net revenue flows
  • Seek to deliver positive commercial outcomes
  • Foster business opportunities consistent with conservation.

Businesses support conservation programmes through sponsorship and partnership. We manage these relationships to ensure that they deliver mutual benefits.

DOC also works with philanthropists to deliver conservation outcomes beyond those achievable by the Department alone.

Within the statutory concessions framework, we authorise third-party activities and uses on public conservation lands and waters, such as tourism activities, grazing, mining and telecommunication sites.

Whānau, hapū, iwi

The Kahui Kaupapa Atawhai Group has led the Department's work in engaging and developing relationships with whānau, hapū and iwi and supporting the work of the Conservation Partnerships and Conservation Services groups. The regionally based Pou Tairangahau network is well placed to continue being the face of the Department and occasionally all of government, particularly the Natural Resources Sector.

Clarifying the pathway to integrating the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi (section 4 of the Conservation Act 1987) into the Department's planning and practice to help shape its priorities will be essential to increasing conservation on private and public land.

By gaining a better understanding of mātauranga Māori, we anticipate that whānau, hapū and iwi will be more willing to support and work with us in a meaningful way to grow conservation for all New Zealanders.

Community groups

The Department works in partnership with more than 600 community groups, tangata whenua and associates to carry out conservation work on public land. The value added to conservation by just 200 groups (survey 2007) was $15.8 million.


Over 15,000 volunteers participated in DOC-led volunteer activities in 2012/13. This is a contribution equivalent to 35,135 workdays. This figure does not include conservation action by volunteers outside of DOC-led conservation priorities or their catalytic role in inspiring and mobilising others to take action for conservation.

5.4 Our organisation

The Senior Leadership Team, based in the National Office, in Wellington, comprises:

Lou Sanson: Director-General Tumuaki Ahurei

Lou Sanson was appointed as Director-General in 2013, having been chief executive of Antarctica New Zealand for the previous 11 years. In that role, he was responsible for developing, managing and executing New Zealand's activities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Before that, Lou worked for DOC as Conservator for Southland Conservancy in charge of Fiordland National Park, Stewart Island and the subantarctic World Heritage Area. He also led the establishment of Rakiura National Park and some of the world's largest island eradication projects, and helped establish a network of marine reserves in Fiordland.

Deputy Directors-General Tumuaki

  • Doris Johnston: Policy and Regulatory Services Tanga Whakahere Kaupapa
  • Tata Lawton: Kahui Kaupapa Atawhai General Māori Issues
  • Felicity Lawrence: Science and Capability Whakahiato-kaimahi a Papa Atawhai
  • Christeen Mackenzie: Business Performance Tanga Topu Whakaritenga
  • Mike Slater: Conservation Services Rangahau-whakahiato-whakakoi (Acting)
  • Kay Booth: Conservation Partnerships Kāhui Manutātaki

Policy and Regulatory Services Group

The purpose of the group is to:

  • Influence and lead conservation thinking across central government and in other strategic relationships
  • Provide a one-stop-shop for integrated professional services (e.g., legal, planning, permissions and policy).

Kahui Kaupapa Atawhai Group

The purpose of the group is to develop a cultural platform that connects people with the natural world, and to lead the integration of kaupapa Māori as essential to conservation management. Its focus is on:

  • Building cultural awareness and developing organisational capability for working in a Māori dimension
  • Developing the foundation for iwi conservation leadership
  • Leading the Department's approach to implementing section 4 of the Conservation Act 1987
  • Leading and growing the biodiversity and cultural gains on private land through the strategic delivery of non-departmental funds.

Science and Capability Group

The purpose of the group is to:

  • Provide professional support, service and strategic direction to the Department
  • Support the Department to increase conservation outcomes by building the capability of its colleagues to grow engagement of others in conservation work across the country
  • Find the best and fastest ways to build skills
  • Understand and generate innovative ideas and best practices and then replicate them in communities all over New Zealand.

Science and Technical :

  • The purpose of the team is to lead and provide coordinated support, technical knowledge and science:
  • Across DOC to achieve the delivery of DOC's organisational priorities
  • To national partners, stakeholders and iwi; and to achieve more conservation and, through this, greater prosperity.

Business Performance Group

  • The group provides effective and efficient business systems and services that support the Department and its partners. Its focus will be on:
  • Providing fit-for-purpose and integrated business systems that support people working within the Department and sectors
  • Leading the Department's provision of shared business services and managing its framework for shared services across other groups, and with partners
  • Providing core business systems to meet customer and statutory requirements.

Conservation Partnerships Group

The purpose of the group is to lead the way DOC works with others to achieve more conservation and support the Department's external relationships. The group aims to:

  • Significantly increase New Zealander's engagement in conservation along with the associated consequence benefits
  • Generate growth in the amount of conservation work done with the funding and support of external parties.

Conservation Services Group

The Conservation Services Group is responsible for delivering great conservation work on the ground. Its goal is to do high quality conservation work, to plan and cost as effectively as possible.

5.5 Finances

The Department's total budget is over $340 million a year, with the main components being Management of Natural Heritage (circa $160 million) and Management of Recreational Opportunities (circa $145 million).

The following tables summarise the Department's financial performance over the past year. The Department will offer a briefing for you and your staff on the Department's finances and on your accountabilities under the Public Finance Act 1989.

Statement of financial performance for the year ended 30 June 2014

Statement of financial performance for the year ended 30 June 2014
  Actual ($000)
Crown 309,374
Other 37,463
Total 346,837
Personnel costs 149,300
Operating costs 116,246
Depreciation and amortisation 32,770
Capital charge 46,049
Finance costs 126
Loss on sale of property, plant and equipment 388
Total 344,879
Net surplus 1,958

6. Institutional arrangements

6.1 Statutory bodies

The Conservation Act 1987 provides for public engagement with conservation management through a number of statutory bodies, some having members appointed by you. Early in 2015, you will receive a briefing on upcoming appointments.

New Zealand Conservation Authority

The New Zealand Conservation Authority (NZCA) advises you and the Director-General on the public interest in conservation at a national level. It approves key conservation management documents, including general policy for national parks, conservation management strategies and national park management plans. You are required to consult the NZCA on certain matters, including appointments to conservation boards.

NZCA members are appointed by you for 3 years, on the recommendation of designated organisations, and in consultation with specified ministers, or following public nominations. The current chairperson is Dr Warren Parker, Chief Executive Officer of Scion, the Crown Research Institute for Forestry, and formerly Chief Executive Officer of Landcare Research.

Conservation boards

Fourteen regional conservation boards are appointed by you to provide independent advice on the Department's policy and activities, including oversight of the development of their region's conservation management strategy. Once the NZCA approves a strategy, the relevant board advises on its implementation. Boards report annually to the NZCA.

Approximately a third of a conservation board's members are appointed by the Minister, for 3-year terms, each year. Some 40 appointments are due in 2015.

Fish and game councils

Twelve regional fish and game councils manage freshwater sport fishing and game bird hunting. Each has 12 members, elected by licence holders, and a non-voting departmental representative. Each council appoints one person to the New Zealand Fish and Game Council. The national council advises you, develops policy and guidelines, advocates the interests of anglers and hunters and coordinates the fishery and game bird management. The chair of the New Zealand Fish and Game Council is Lindsay Lyons and the chief executive (since 1980) is Bryce Johnson.

You are responsible for approving the councils' annual budgets, financial reports, licence fees and conditions. You can require amendments to their recommended conditions for game seasons but they are not otherwise subject to your direction. They have an annual budget of about $10 million, funded from sales of sports fishing and hunting licences.

The Taupo sports fishery is managed separately by the Department in consultation with the Taupo Fishery Advisory Committee, which has 10 members appointed by you. It is the only sports fishery not managed by a fish and game council.

Game Animal Council

The Game Animal Council is a statutory body under the Game Animal Council Act 2013 to represent the interests of the recreational hunting sector and improve the management of hunting resources, while contributing to positive conservation outcomes. Its main functions include: advising and making recommendations to you on hunting issues; providing information and education to the sector; promoting safety initiatives; conducting game animal research; and undertaking management functions for designated herds of special interest. The 11 members of the Council are appointed by you. Its current chair is Donald Hammond.

Queen Elizabeth II National Trust

The Queen Elizabeth II National Trust assists landowners to protect significant natural and cultural features on their land, primarily through open space covenants. It helps to fund covenant projects, advises landowners on managing covenants and monitors protected areas. It has an annual budget of about $4 million, mostly from government grants. Its appropriation from Vote: Conservation is subject to your annual purchase agreement. Its board reports annually to you. You appoint its chairperson and three directors, and Trust members elect two more directors. The current chairperson is James Guild and the chief executive is Mike Jebson.


There are seven ministerially appointed Guardians of Lakes Manapouri, Monowai and Te Anau. They meet twice a year and work with electric power companies in monitoring the impact of power generation on the lakes, particularly on water levels.

There are four ministerially appointed Guardians of Lake Wanaka. They monitor the environmental health of the lake.

Under the Kaikōura (Te Tai o Marokura) Marine Management Act 2014, guardians are jointly appointed by you and the Minister for Primary Industries to an advisory committee that reports to both ministers.

Taupo-nui-a-Tia Management Board

The Taupo-nui-a-Tia Management Board administers the beds of Taupo waters. It has four Ngati Tuwharetoa members and four Crown members appointed by you, in consultation with the Minister of Māori Affairs.

Waitangi National Trust

You are an ex officio member of the Waitangi National Trust Board, which oversees the management of the Treaty grounds at Waitangi. That role would be changed by a Waitangi National Trust Board Amendment Bill, which is currently before the Māori Affairs Select Committee. The Bill seeks to address a potential conflict between the constitutional and trusteeship roles of the Governor-General and ministers as ex officio members of the Trust Board.

Marine reserve committees

Some marine reserves have committees to advise on their management. Some are established by you under the Conservation Act 1987, under terms of reference set by you. Others are established by the relevant conservation board.

Reserve boards

Reserve boards control and administer reserves according to the Reserves Act 1977. In most cases, ministerial authority to appoint members is delegated to the Director-General. Exceptions to date are the Lake Okataina Scenic Reserve Board, the Rotoiti Scenic Reserve Board and the Kaiteriteri Recreation Reserve Board.

Boards and committees arising from Treaty of Waitangi settlements

A range of committees and boards have been established in Treaty of Waitangi settlements. Most are advisory committees, set up under section 56 of the Conservation Act 1987, to provide advice to the Minister on various conservation matters in the iwi's area of interest. Others are joint advisory or management committees between DOC and the iwi for particularly culturally significant sites on public conservation land.

The most significant recent structure created through a Treaty settlement is the Te Urewera Board under the Te Urewera Act 2014. This governance board is jointly made up of Crown and iwi representatives to govern Te Urewera (formerly the National Park). Te Urewera continues to be managed by DOC, but Tūhoe could increase its involvement over time.

Additional co-governance boards are included in the Te Hiku settlement legislation recently introduced in the House and in the Hauraki Collective negotiations, which are currently being finalised.

6.2 Statutory planning

Planning framework

Conservation management planning is governed by a hierarchy of planning documents established by conservation legislation in the following descending order of priority:

  • Legislation: Conservation Act 1987, Wildlife Act 1953, Marine Reserves Act 1971, Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978, Reserves Act 1977, Wild Animal Control Act 1977, National Parks Act 1980.
  • General policies: Conservation General Policy, General Policy for National Parks.
  • Conservation management strategies: There are currently 16, although current reviews will result in some being amalgamated.
  • Management plans: Conservation, Sports Fish and Game, and National Park Management Plans.

General policies

General policies provide guidance for interpreting conservation legislation and the development of conservation management strategies and plans. They guide and, in some cases, direct decisions by the Minister, Director-General and other decision-makers, such as the New Zealand Conservation Authority, conservation boards and fish and game councils.

Conservation management strategies

The requirement and process for preparing conservation management strategies (CMSs) follow a public process set out in the Conservation Act 1987. They are approved by the New Zealand Conservation Authority, having regard to any recommendations from you on the final draft.

A CMS provides a 10-year strategy for the integrated management of all lands and marine areas administered by the Department in a conservancy or region. CMS policies guide the Department in carrying out its statutory responsibilities, advocating for conservation, developing relationships with tangata whenua and working with other statutory agencies, the community, user groups and members of the public.

First-generation CMSs (with the exception of West Coast and Rakiura–Stewart Island) are under review or due for review. Second-generation CMSs for Northland and Waikato became operative on 29 September 2014, to be followed by the Auckland CMS on 17 November. Second-generation CMSs for Otago, Southland (including the subantarctic islands) and Canterbury will be operative in 2015. Reviews for Nelson–Marlborough; Wellington/part Wanganui; and Hawkes Bay/East Coast CMSs are scheduled to start later this year. The review of the Chatham Islands CMS is due to start in 2016. Reviews of the substantive Wanganui; Bay of Plenty; and Tongariro/Taupo CMSs will be scheduled pending the resolution of Treaty of Waitangi settlement negotiations.

National park management plans

The National Parks Act 1980 requires a management plan for every national park. These are 10-year plans, the preparation of which includes public consultation. The New Zealand Conservation Authority approves these plans after having regard to your views on the final draft. Some national park management plans are under review or due for review soon. Reviews of national park management plans are prioritised to ensure they are fit for purpose. A new template for national park management plans is being developed to make the review process more efficient.

National park management plan Review date
Te Urewera To be replaced by a new plan under the
Te Urewera Act
Aoraki/Mt Cook August 2014
Tongariro October 2016
Arthur's Pass December 2017
Fiordland June 2017
Abel Tasman October 2018
Rakiura February 2021
Mt Aspiring June 2021
Whanganui August 2022
Paparoa November 2002
Kahurangi June 2011
Westland Tai Poutini December 2011
Egmont February 2012
Nelson Lakes October 2009

6.3 Concessions and other statutory permissions

A concession is an authorisation, usually with operating conditions and charges, to conduct private or commercial activity on conservation lands. It may be a permit, licence, easement or lease. Revenues from concession fees can supplement departmental operating budgets and support conservation projects.

Concessions are issued in your name but decisions are generally delegated to departmental managers. Decisions on activities of national significance can be made by the Director-General or by you.

Aside from concessions, other forms of statutory authorisations will be required for private or commercial activities on public conservation land or where these affect natural resources managed under conservation legislation. Examples of other statutory authorisations include marine mammal permits, Wildlife Act authorities, access arrangements (for prospecting, exploration or mining) or national park accommodation authorisations.

The Department's decision-making processes for statutory permissions vary according to the situation. The aim is to deliver decisions efficiently and cost-effectively while taking due account of conservation risks and stakeholder interests. Much more is involved for a hydro dam proposal, for example, compared with an application for a guided walk on existing tracks, and current processes reflect this.

An environmental impact assessment is usual for all permission applications. Consultation with the public, tangata whenua and boards may be required, particularly where significant effects, long terms of operation or exclusive use of an area are anticipated. Conditions are usually set, for example, to minimise environmental effects, promote safety and provide for the payment of fees. Monitoring can also be required.

In recent years, there have more than 1000 concession applications a year. The following table shows indicative statistics for 2013/14.

Permission applications 2013/14: processing and outcomes

Status Number %
Received 1997 100
Approved 1536 77
Rejected 23 1
Declined 9 <1
Withdrawn 110 6
Pending 177 9
Terminated 1 <1
Pre-application 111 6
Surrendered 2 <1
Alleged Illegal 23 1
Cancelled 5 <1

The range of activities undertaken under statutory permissions is broad, as shown by the following indicative figures.

Permissions in effect as at 31 August 2014

Activity concessions Number % of concessions
Structures 893 22
Grazing 678 17
Guiding 518 13
Access/easement 473 12
Accommodation 390 10
Telecommunications 265 6
Aircraft 213 5
General agriculture 108 3
Events 98 2
Boating 97 2
Wild animal control 85 2
Vehicle 65 2
Extraction 56 1
Unidentified 44 1
Education/instruction 30 1
Skifields 27 1
Storage 20 <1
Retail 12 <1
Attractions 12 <1
Filming/photography 9 <1
Concessions total 4093  
Wildlife authorisations 1257  
Research/ Collection 338  
Sounds Foreshore 314  
Mining 168  
Marine 150  
Miscellaneous 127  
Total 6447 100

Revenue from concessions in 2013/14 totalled just over $13.7 million.

Key improvement project—wildlife, research and collection permissions

Many customers, Treaty of Waitangi partners and stakeholders have expressed frustration with the Department's current processes around applying for authorisations (or permits) relating to wildlife, research or collection. Processes are seen as complicated, time consuming and lacking transparency. The Department is working with customers and stakeholders to review the permitting process for these types of activities. The State Services Commission is interested in this improvement programme due to its customer-centred approach.

6.4 International agreements and bodies

New Zealand is party to a range of international agreements and is a member of a number of international bodies dealing with environmental and conservation issues. Your approval or guidance may be needed on negotiating positions. Ministerial representation at meetings and negotiations is occasionally recommended but is determined by your availability. Key international agreements and bodies include the following.

Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

This multilateral agreement aims to safeguard albatross and petrel populations in the Southern Ocean, particularly by reducing seabird by-catch from commercial fishing.

Antarctic Treaty

This treaty promotes peaceful international scientific cooperation in Antarctica. The supplementary Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty provides for protection of the Antarctic environment and ecosystems.

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora
and Fauna (CITES)

The Department is New Zealand's administering agency for this convention, which facilitates the regulation and control of international trade in wild animals and plants.

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

This convention promotes the conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of genetic resources and fair sharing of the benefits. It gives rise to the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy.

Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR)

The Department provides technical input to an international commission established under this convention that studies and supervises the preservation of fish and bird life in Antarctica.

Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS)

This convention is relevant to a number of species that spend part of their migratory cycle in New Zealand territory.

Convention on Conservation of Nature in the South Pacific

This convention (also known as the Apia Convention) established the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (see below).

Convention on the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna

This convention created the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna, which aims to manage the fishery.

East Asian–Australasian Flyway Partnership

This partnership focuses on migratory birds that fly between the southern and northern hemispheres by way of Asia. It is particularly relevant to the survival of red knots and godwits, which leave New Zealand for Arctic breeding grounds each year—the longest migratory flight in the world.

International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling

This convention established the International Whaling Commission (IWC). New Zealand has advocated the protection of whales and supported the current moratorium on commercial whaling and the establishment of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

IUCN: World Conservation Union

The IUCN is an association of government and non-governmental organisations that promotes conservation research, field projects, policy, law and best practice, and maintains the global 'Red List' of threatened species. The Department, the New Zealand Conservation Authority and six New Zealand non-governmental organisations are members.

Memorandum of Understanding for the Conservation of Cetaceans and their
Habitats in the Pacific Islands Region

This memorandum, developed in 2006, aims to achieve concerted action to protect the habitats of cetaceans, especially the great whales.

Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar)

This convention provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. Six New Zealand wetlands have been registered as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar sites). 'Ramsar' refers to the Iranian city where the Wetlands Convention was adopted in 1971. New Zealand's Ramsar sites are protected under the reserves system and the Resource Management Act 1991.

Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)

SPREP is a regional organisation established by Pacific governments and administrations to coordinate environmental projects. It is based in Apia, Samoa.

South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO) and
Western and Central Pacific Tuna Commission (WCPTC)

These regional organisations manage fisheries in the South Pacific and are of particular interest to the Department in achieving by-catch conservation and protecting marine features from damaging impacts of fisheries operations.

Standing Council on Environment and Water (SCEW)

SCEW is a council of Australian Commonwealth, state, territory and New Zealand ministers with responsibility for environmental and water issues. It meets annually to agree actions to address key environmental protection and water management issues.

New Zealand is represented on SCEW by the Minister for the Environment, but the business of the Council also relates to New Zealand's Conservation portfolio.

United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and
the Law of the Sea

This process was begun in 1999 to facilitate the annual review by the United Nations General Assembly of developments in ocean affairs and the law of the sea.

World Heritage Convention

This UNESCO convention was established to identify and protect the world's cultural and natural heritage places. New Zealand has three listed World Heritage sites: Te Wāhipounamu, South West New Zealand; Tongariro National Park; and New Zealand Subantarctic Islands.

6.5 Biodiversity funds

You determine the distribution of $22.4 million in biodiversity funding across five funding bodies that support biodiversity protection—the Nature Heritage Fund, Queen Elizabeth II National Trust, Nga Whenua Rahui, Community Conservation Partnerships Fund, and the Terrestrial and Freshwater Biodiversity Information System Fund. The Mātauranga Kura Taiao Fund is administered within Nga Whenua Rahui.

Nature Heritage Fund

The Nature Heritage Fund is a contestable ministerial fund that was established in 1990 to support the objectives of the Indigenous Forest Policy for private land. In 1998, its scope was widened to include non-forest ecosystems on private lands. It is administered by a technical advisory committee, appointed by you and chaired by Di Lucas, to protect indigenous ecosystems that represent the full range of natural diversity originally present in the New Zealand landscape. It does this by providing incentives for voluntary conservation by way of direct purchase and covenanting.

The Committee receives and makes recommendations to you on applications from landowners, non-governmental organisations, local authorities and government departments.

A total of 1364 applications have been processed since 1990. Some 743 cases have been approved, resulting in the protection of 340,965 hectares of indigenous ecosystems, either by direct purchase or through covenants, at a cost of around $161.14 million. This equates to an average cost of around $473 per hectare. Approximately 80% of these applications have come from private sources, 18% from the Department and 2% from local authorities.

In 2008, the purchase of St James Station, near Lewis Pass, was funded by way of drawdown from the fund over 6 years (with additional funding from Vote Lands). This reduced the scheduled appropriations for the fund.

Since 2002, it has had the role of administering the conservation component of the South Island Landless Natives Act 1906 (SILNA) package. From an allocation of $16 million, the fund facilitates conservation payments for covenants over areas of these lands identified as having high conservation values.

To date, $7.677 million has been spent to protect 808 hectares of SILNA land, including $0.5 million for the successful Waitutu pest management programme. A further $7.904 million has been committed for properties totalling 2948 hectares over which negotiations are continuing.

Before 2002, the fund contributed $6 million toward an $18 million project to protect 2171 hectares of SILNA land at Waitutu in Southland and $5.364 million toward protecting 3515 hectares of SILNA land on Stewart Island (Lords River).

Queen Elizabeth II National Trust

The QEII National Trust receives an annual government grant of $4.2 million to support its business of securing the long-term protection of natural and cultural heritage on private land.

Nga Whenua Rahui

The Nga Whenua Rahui Fund supports the protection of indigenous ecosystems on Māori land. It is administered by a Komiti (committee), currently of six members, chaired by Sir Tumu te Heuheu. The Komiti considers applications and makes recommendations for your approval within a current budget of $6 million per year. It is serviced by a secretariat in the Department.

Organisations representative of iwi and hapū can apply to Nga Whenua Rahui for funding. Protection mechanisms include covenants (kawenata), fencing and establishment of Māori reservations under the Te Ture Whenua Act 1993. The criteria and mechanisms of Nga Whenua Rahui allow the owners to retain tino rangatiratanga (ownership and control).

Mātauranga Kura Taiao Fund

The Nga Whenua Rahui Komiti also administers the Mātauranga Kura Taiao Fund, which supports retention and use of traditional Māori knowledge in biodiversity management. This fund supports hapū and iwi initiatives to retain and promote traditional Māori knowledge and its use in biodiversity management. The Komiti allocates about $0.5 million a year from this fund.

Community Partnerships Fund

The Community Conservation Partnerships Fund—Pūtea Tautiaki Hapori provides funding to community-led conservation groups for natural heritage and recreation projects in New Zealand. The fund, announced in March 2014, set aside about $26 million dollars over the next 4 years to distribute to community groups for priority conservation work. In the inaugural funding round $8.5 million was distributed amongst 102 successful applicants out of an unprecedented 295 applications.

Terrestrial and Freshwater Biodiversity Information System (TFBIS)

TFBIS aims to increase awareness of, and access to, data and information about New Zealand's terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity. Each year, $1.6 million is distributed to fund research and support the development and maintenance of databases. The Department administers TFBIS with advice from a steering committee that includes representatives of the Ministry for the Environment, MPI, local government and Crown research institutes.

Appendix 1: Legislation

Legislation administered by the Department of Conservation

  • Conservation Act 1987
  • Canterbury Provincial Buildings Vesting Act 1928
  • Game Animal Council Act 2013
  • Harbour Boards Dry Land Endowment Revesting Act 1991
  • Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act 2000
  • Kapiti Island Public Reserve Act 1897
  • Lake Wanaka Preservation Act 1973
  • Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978
  • Marine Reserves Act 1971
  • Mount Egmont Vesting Act 1978
  • National Parks Act 1980
  • Native Plants Protection Act 1934
  • Ngāi Tahu (Tūtaepatu Lagoon Vesting) Act 1998
  • Queen Elizabeth the Second National Trust Act 1977
  • Queenstown Reserves Vesting and Empowering Act 1971
  • Reserves Act 1977
  • Stewart Island Reserves Empowering Act 1976
  • Subantarctic Islands Marine Reserves Act 2014
  • Sugar Loaf Islands Marine Protected Area Act 1991
  • Trade In Endangered Species Act 1989
  • Tutae-Ka-Wetoweto Forest Act 2001
  • Waitangi Endowment Act 1932–33
  • Waitangi National Trust Board Act 1932
  • Waitutu Block Settlement Act 1997
  • West Coast Wind-blown Timber (Conservation Lands) Act 2014
  • Wild Animal Control Act 1977
  • Wildlife Act 1953

Other Acts under which the Department has functions

  • Biosecurity Act 1993
  • Crown Forest Assets Act 1989
  • Crown Minerals Act 1991
  • Crown Pastoral Land Act 1998
  • Fisheries Act 1996
  • Forest and Rural Fires Act 1977
  • Forests Act 1949
  • Freedom Camping Act 2011
  • Land Act 1948
  • Local Government Act 1974
  • Local Government Act 2002
  • Maori Land Amendment and Maori Land Claims Adjustment Act 1926
  • Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011
  • Public Works Act 1981
  • Resource Management Act 1991
  • Treaty of Waitangi Settlement Acts

Appendix 2: Maps

Publication information

© Copyright October 2014, New Zealand Department of Conservation

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