3 May 2022: The NZCA is pleased to formally receive the Options Development Group (ODG) report, which had been commissioned in light of the matters highlighted in the 2018 Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki Supreme Court decision.

“The report will help inform how the Department of Conservation and the Authority interpret conservation law in light of the Department’s Te Tiriti o Waitangi / Treaty of Waitangi obligations”, said NZCA Chair, Edward Ellison. “The report could also be expected to guide future legislative conservation law reform”.

“This is truly a crucial time to look at how we manage conservation in Aotearoa New Zealand, and we were pleased that the ODG took the opportunity to consider a wide perspective of issues to ensure that the conversations we are having effect change” says Edward.

“The report is a well-researched piece of work, by a collective that has variety of background and considerable expertise in conservation issues and practice, tikanga and mātauranga taiao, and in applying the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi / Treaty of Waitangi”.

“We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the work that has been done; the resulting document is incredibly informative in the way that it brings together information across Waitangi Tribunal recommendations and related case law.”

“At a time when Aotearoa New Zealand is facing severe biodiversity and climate crises, the report provides a springboard for conversation and consideration around strategic action, whilst the recently released implementation plan for Te Mana o Te Taiao / Aotearoa NZ Biodiversity Strategy and the upcoming programme of conservation law reform provide the tools to achieve the necessary action”.

“The NZCA, as owners of the General Policy for National Parks, will be focusing on the recommendations centred on the review of the policy documents. In its deliberations, the wider conservation legal framework will also be considered”.

“The NZCA recognises and respects the illumination that this document brings to questions facing conservation and looks forward to establishing a work programme to ensure timely consideration of the report and resolution of matters in a way that brings benefit to all and to conservation” says Edward, “it will be important to engage in the challenging discussions and to listen to one another with open minds, in progressing this Kaupapa”.

Background information

The New Zealand Conservation Authority / Te Pou Atawhai Taiao O Aotearoa was established under the Conservation Act 1987, with members appointed by the Minister of Conservation. The NZCA has a role as an objective advocate on conservation matters of national significance and interest. It provides high quality independent advice to the Minister and the Director-General of Conservation on its strategic direction and performance.

The general policies set national direction for how the Department of Conservation and others with conservation roles interpret conservation legislation. The NZCA is the decision-maker for the General Policy for National Parks.

The Options Development Group (ODG) was an independent body established in September 2020 to assist DOC in the partial reviews of the Conservation General Policy and General Policy for National Parks (the general policies). The ODG was responsible for developing recommendations for changes to the general policies in a report to the Director-General of Conservation.

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