The 2005 Conservation General Policy is the highest level of statutory policy for conservation management.

I am pleased to have approved this major initiative in conservation policy. This is the first statement of General Policy under the Conservation Act 1987. It also provides General Policy for a range of other conservation legislation, namely:

  • The Wildlife Act 1953
  • The Marine Reserves Act 1971
  • The Reserves Act 1977
  • The Wild Animal Control Act 1977
  • The Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978.

The need for new general policy under the conservation legislation has been seen for some time. Indeed such policy was envisaged from the passage of the Conservation Act in 1987, especially since the operative General Policy for National Parks, approved in 1983, has provided a solid framework for the management of national parks and the development of national park management plans. Since the 1980s, however, there have been significant changes in the operating environment for conservation. These changes also affect the delivery of conservation in New Zealand, the demands faced by public conservation lands and waters, and the Crown’s relationship with tangata whenua.

The conservation of New Zealand’s natural and historic heritage will benefit greatly as a result of this General Policy and the allied General Policy for National Parks. It will guide, and in some cases direct, my decisions as Minister, and those of subsequent Ministers. It will similarly guide and direct decisions of the Director-General of Conservation and other decision-makers under the legislation, such as the New Zealand Conservation Authority, conservation boards and fish and game councils. In particular it will shape a new round of conservation management strategies and conservation management plans over the next few years.

The scope of the policies in this statement is broad, reflecting the wide spectrum of conservation areas administered under the legislation and the many conservation tasks to be performed. In order to achieve integrated conservation management, the policies are carefully formulated taking into account this spectrum of areas and responsibilities, but they maintain a strong statute-based focus on the protection and preservation of natural and historic resources. The importance of conservation areas for public recreation and enjoyment is fully recognised; however, under the legislation, for most types of conservation areas such use must not be inconsistent with their preservation and protection. Policies for people’s benefit and enjoyment are crafted accordingly.

A basic theme that flows throughout the General Policy is the importance of public participation in conservation management. New Zealand has a fine tradition of national and community organisations, local government, iwi and the public generally paying close attention to the way public conservation areas are managed. This tradition is sustained. There is also recognition of specific responsibilities and relationships under the Treaty of Waitangi, as articulated in section 4 of the Conservation Act.

Many substantial submissions were received on the draft policies released for public comment in August 2003. These have been carefully considered and have improved the final policies in several significant respects. I am grateful to all the people and organisations who submitted on the draft policies. I particularly wish to thank the New Zealand Conservation Authority for their huge contribution throughout the parallel processes of development of the Conservation General Policy and the review of the National Parks General Policy.

The policies that are set out in this statement will guide conservation management for the next decade or more. I commend them to you.

Hon Chris Carter
Minister of Conservation
23 May 2005

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View the Conservation General Policy

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