Section 5. Conservation Board statutory functions and powers
IntroductionConservation Boards have a range of statutory functions, powers and duties under the Conservation Act, a range of other conservation legislation and, depending where the Board is located, Treaty settlement legislation may apply.
On this page:
- 5.1 Overview
- 5.2 Statutory functions relating to conservation management strategies - Conservation Act
- 5.3 Statutory functions relating to conservation management plans - Conservation Act
- 5.4 Other statutory functions under the Conservation Act
- 5.5 Powers of Boards under the Conservation Act
- 5.6 Conservation Board statutory functions and duties under other legislation
- 5.7 Conservation Board statutory functions and duties under Treaty Settlement legislation
Conservation Boards have various functions and powers under a range of conservation legislation. The Conservation Act sets out the majority of a Board's functions, but there are also functions and duties under a number of other Acts, shown at sections 5.6 and 5.7 below.
It is important to recognise that, while Boards contribute to a wide range of outcomes in conservation, this is generally in an advisory role.
The Minister sets expectations of DOC (through a Statement of Performance Expectations), the NZCA (through a Letter of Expectation) and Conservation Boards (also through a Letter of Expectation). These strategic-level accountability documents are aligned but require different areas of focus. DOC’s and the NZCA’s focus will be national, while Conservation Boards’ focus will be regional. Regional objectives and outcomes contribute to the success of national objectives.
5.2.1 Recommend the approval by the NZCA of conservation management strategies, and the review and amendment of such strategies, under the relevant enactments: s6M(1)(a)
Conservation Boards do not have sole responsibility for conservation management strategies (CMSs) or plans. For example, when a CMS is being prepared, DOC must consult with Boards (s17F(a)) and Boards assist DOC with the public submission process and with developing the draft, but the NZCA then receives the draft, liaises with the Minister and gives final approval of the CMS (s17 F(p)).
DOC can initiate a review of a CMS, but only after consultation with the affected Conservation Board (s17H(1)). If the review results in an amendment, the NZCA will approve the amendment.
The Act provides for large pieces of work such as a CMS to be separated into different functions undertaken by different contributors throughout the process and reflects the differing degrees of focus and expertise required at different times in the process. DOC and the NZCA need the local and regional perspective and input that Boards provide, as it is critical to DOC’s ability to draft a strategy that accurately reflects the unique features and issues present within a CMS area. The direct line of communication between the NZCA and the Minister promotes efficiency by ensuring the Minister has only one entity to consult with.
5.2.2 Advise the NZCA and DOC on the implementation of conservation management strategies and conservation management plans for areas within the jurisdiction of the Board: s6M(1)(c)
Over the lifetime of a CMS, Conservation Boards are required to advise the NZCA on how the CMS is being implemented. Each Board will have its own process for this but commonly this is undertaken as part of a Board's Annual Report to the NZCA. If one Board took the lead in the development of the CMS, that Board will usually take the responsibility for providing advice on its implementation.
See section 6 of this Manual for more information on monitoring and reporting.
5.3.1 Approve conservation management plans, and the review and amendment of such plans, under the relevant enactments: s6M(1)(b)
Conservation management plans (CMPs) are 10-year documents that implement Conservation Management Strategies (CMSs) and establish detailed objectives for the integrated management of natural and historic resources at specified places and for recreation, tourism, and other conservation purposes. Steps for preparing CMPs are set out in the Conservation Act 1987 and the Reserves Act 1977. The Marine Reserves Act also makes provision for the preparation of CMPs - refer to section 5.6 below for information on legislation other than the Conservation Act.
An overview of the CMP process under the Conservation Act is shown here: Summary and timeline of steps for the development of a CMP
CMPs are now uncommon. There is an active programme of revocation occurring across the country. This is because regional CMSs have been introduced to replace multiple CMPs. Once a regional CMS is approved, a lot of existing CMPs are superseded by the CMS, and management of the reserves in the area is instead guided by the provisions of the CMS. There may be exceptions, for example due to treaty settlement legislation in force or other interdependent plans in development.
5.3.2 Advise the NZCA and DOC on the implementation of conservation management strategies and conservation management plans for areas within the jurisdiction of the Board: s6M(1)(c)
Over the lifetime of a CMP, Conservation Boards are required to advise the NZCA on how it is being implemented. Each Board will have its own process for this but commonly this is undertaken as part of a Board's Annual Report to the NZCA.
See section 6 of this Manual for more information on monitoring and reporting.
5.3.3 Withdrawal and revocation of a conservation management plan
Withdrawal of a CMP is a process followed under s65(12)(c) of the Conservation Act 1987 as CMPs under the Conservation Act were likely prepared under former Acts, prior to 1987.
5.4.1 Advise the NZCA or DOC on any proposed change of status or classification of any area of national or international importance: s6M(1)(d)(i)
5.4.2 Advise the NZCA or DOC on any other conservation matters within their jurisdiction: s6M(1)(d)(ii)
5.2.6 Liaise with any Fish and Game Council on matters within their jurisdiction: s6M(1)(f)
5.4.3 Exercise any other powers and functions that may be delegated by the Minister under the Conservation Act or any other Act: s6M(1)(g)
5.4.4 Exercise other functions, as conferred on them by or under the Conservation Act or any other Act: s6M(2)
Section 6N gives every Board all such powers as are reasonably necessary or expedient to enable it to carry out its functions. These powers include advocating its interests at any public forum or in any statutory planning process (s6N(2)(a)), appointing committees of members and other suitable persons, and delegating to them functions and powers (s6N(2)(b)), and appearing before courts and tribunals in New Zealand and being heard on matters affecting or relating to the Board’s functions (s6N(3)).
5.5.1 Resource Management Act processes
Boards may become involved in RMA processes at various levels: by making a submission, appearing at a hearing, or advocating their position at the Environment Court under their s6N powers.
If a Board chooses to become involved in a court process, they should be aware there is a risk that costs could be awarded against them, as there may not be DOC funding available to support a Board that becomes involved in litigation. See section 11.6 of this Manual for more information on Board expenditure.
A Board may wish to make its own submissions on matters or, if its views accord with DOC’s on a matter, the Board may wish to make a submission in support of the DOC submission. Information and guidance on submission writing can be found at the Ministry for the Environment website: making a submission on a proposed plan or resource consent.
The appendix below gives guidance to Boards on assistance that may be available to them from DOC when they are dealing with RMA matters.
5.5.2 Board member individual submissions
If a Board is consulted on an issue as part of a public consultation process, a Board member may also wish to make an individual submission on the issue. The submission should be made in their own name and should not identify them as a Conservation Board member. It is expected that a Board member who makes an individual submission to inform their Board Chair and Board servicing staff that they have done so.
If confidential targeted consultation takes place with a Board, it is not open to an individual Board member to make an individual submission on the matter as it would be a breach of confidentiality.
Other legislation besides the Conservation Act gives Conservation Boards a range of duties, powers and obligations. These are set out in the appendix below.
Legislation arising from Treaty settlements can create certain statutory obligations for some Conservation Boards, depending on what part of the country the Board's jurisdiction covers, and what Treaty settlements have occurred in that part of the country. These are set out in the appendix below.