Read the NZCA's advice to the Minister on the amendments proposed from the partial review of the Tongariro National Park Management Plan.

To:  Hon Eugenie Sage, Minister of Conservation
Date:  14 May 2018

Tongariro National Park Management Plan partial review

The Authority received the draft partial review of the Tongariro National Park Management Plan for consideration at its October 2017 meeting and heard directly from the Tongariro-Taupo Conservation Board sub-committee, established for the partial review, as well as the Department.  After discussion and weighing up of the various viewpoints, the Authority resolved to approve the amendments, subject to;

a)  Confirmation in writing from Ngati Rangi and Uenuku of their support for the proposed mountain bike tracks;
b)  Consistency with the national e-bike guidelines (endorsed February 2018);
c)  The Department receiving a business plan demonstrating the sustainability of the proposed mountain bike tracks, especially the Turoa – Ohakune track; and
d)  Receipt of your comments as required under s48(2) of the National Parks Act.

The Authority was satisfied at its February 2018 meeting that items a), b) and c) had been satisfactorily addressed by the Department and the Conservation Board. Item d) – set out in your letter of 23 April 2018 - was considered at the Authority’s April 2018 meeting. 

On the 23 April 2018, the Authority approved the amendments to the Tongariro National Park Management Plan pursuant to section 48 of the National Parks Act 1980.  The amendment will allow for the establishment of new family-friendly cycle recreation opportunities in the Park, only where they cannot be more appropriately located outside of the National Park and are compatible with the protection of the cultural and natural values of the Park and enjoyment of it by other recreation users.  As well, where monitoring indicates environmental or social effects, including cumulative effects, of mountain biking on the tracks are unacceptable, the Department, with advice from the local Conservation Board, have a range of specified redress options including ceasing track development and removing concessions.

In reaching its decision, the Authority gave careful regard to the matters raised in your letter.  In particular, we reasoned that this amendment would not set a precedent for third parties on crown land as there are sufficient checks and balances built into the amended National Park Management Plan to mitigate this risk.

Yours sincerely

Dr Warren Parker
Chairperson, NZCA

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