11 June 2021: Read the NZCA's feedback and advice to Hon Dr Ayesha Verrall, Acting Minister of Conservation, on the Department of Conservation’s Heritage and Visitor Strategy.

To: Hon Dr Ayesha Verrall, Acting Minister of Conservation
Date: 11 June 2021

This letter provides feedback and advice from the Authority in regard to the Department of Conservation’s Heritage and Visitor Strategy (the Strategy), published February 2021.

The purpose statement of the Strategy, and its inferred intent, for the Department to be more actively engaged in "sustainably managing visitors to protect and enhance the value of New Zealand's natural, cultural and historic heritage", is encouraging. There is concern, however, that DOC's responsibility to protect our natural and cultural heritage does not persevere throughout the document.

The Authority has significant concerns that the Strategy does not accurately reflect the Department’s core functions under the Conservation Act 1987. The Strategy instead appears to focus primarily on encouraging recreation and tourism activities, potentially in a way that is not consistent with conservation outcomes (see s6(e) of the Conservation Act 1987).

Additionally, the Department appears to underutilise its statutory toolkit; there is little reference to the existing statutory management documents (Conservation Management Strategies and National Park Management Plans), which should be integral to the Department’s ability to give effect to this Strategy.

The concerns conveyed in this letter touch on fundamental legislative purpose, function, and powers; the issues indicate a potential distortion of the Department’s legislative obligation.

No reira

E noho ora mai

Edward Ellison ONZM
Chairperson NZCA


Read the NZCA's detailed feedback as a PDF:
NZCA feedback on the Department's Heritage & Visitor Strategy (PDF,198K)

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