Read the content and format check sheet for conservation management strategies (CMS) and management plans (Plan) presented to the New Zealand Conservation Authority

Adopted 10 July 2009
Reviewed and amended 19 August 2022


A copy of this form should accompany conservation management strategies (CMS) and conservation management plans (Plan) presented to the Authority for approval.

Part A: Best practice

If management planners follow DOC best practice in the development of conservation management strategies and the analysis of submissions this will assist the NZCA undertake its approval role.  To give the Authority assurance that best practice has been followed and the CMS or Plan does not derogate from legislation, it requests that compliance with best practice be attested to by the Operations Director as follows (please tick):

  • Legal advice identifying requirements for CMS/Plan to be legally compliant was received and instances where legal advice has not been followed have been identified with reasons for not doing so provided.
  • Gaps or discretions in regard to implementation of general policies have been identified and explained.[1]
  • The CMS/Plan aligns with the Department’s CMS Template and any guidelines and was prepared in accordance with the CMS/Plan advice notes.
  • The CMS/Plan complies with the Department’s publishing standards for working documents and a quality editing process has been completed.
  • The principles of the Treaty of Waitangi have been given effect to in preparing this CMS/Plan.

Part B: Qualities

Qualities that will assist the Authority’s exercise its approval role quickly.

Content and Structure:

  • Sense of purpose and direction that gives coherent guidance to achieve integrated conservation management.
  • A word picture of the characteristics of the conservancy using specific language[2] at the beginning of the CMS/Plan.
  • Clear statements of values for each place[3] for which outcomes are identified.
  • Measurable outcome.[4]
  • Logical progression from outcomes (which relate to values) to objectives to policies.
  • Milestones[5] that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound [SMART] as much as possible.
  • Are there clearly identified reporting mechanisms for the 3, 7 and 10 year Milestones?
  • Identification of threats to natural, historical and cultural values and to the use and enjoyment of people (including people on people impacts) and approaches that will be used to avoid, minimise or reconcile these applying integrated management considerations.
  • National consistency subject to reasonable local variances.
  • Application of the general to the specifics of the local circumstances.[6]
  • Prioritisation of “priorities” or identified actions (to guide business planning).
  • Inclusion of criteria to guide decision-making on specific management actions or concessions applications.
  • For national parks, only objectives for management included in CMS (national park management plans establish policies for national park management).
  • Focus on the what and not the how; the what in sufficient detail to take full advantage of cost effective and efficiency benefits that flow from that e.g. resource consents and for RMA advocacy especially for freshwater bodies within or impacting on public conservation lands.
  • Matters General Policy expects to be included in CMSs/Plans and subject to general public consultation processes not deferred to a subsequent non-statutory process.


  • Clarity of language and good grammar and avoidance of jargon, vague and ambiguous statements, subjective use of adjectives and qualifications such as ‘appropriate’.
  • Logical layout and order and good indexing to assist with use.

Documentation of CMS/Plan process:

  • Comprehensive and complete process statement (Code of Compliance).
  • Summary of submissions is comprehensive, follows best practice, and demonstrates tangata whenua and public input has been properly considered and, when appropriate, has resulted in amendments.

In addition to the qualities outlined above, does the CMS/Plan conform with the NZCA’s Statement of Expectations.

Note: Consistent with its decision-making function, the NZCA retains the ability to seek clarification on any matter or request amendments before approving a conservation management strategy.

[1] Includes instances where General Policy states that a CMS/Plan “will” or “should” but the CMS/Plan does not do so, and where a CMS/Plan provision is at odds with a general policy that uses the word “will” or “should”.  NZCA expects that where a CMS/Plan is silent on the implementation of general policy (despite this being one of the statutory purposes of a CMS/Plan), the Department will still implement general policy.  This is relevant to the NZCA function “to review and report on the effectiveness of the Department’s administration of general policies.”

[2] Examples: lowland tawa forest rather than indigenous forest; southern right whales and bottlenose dolphins rather than marine mammals

[3] For definition of place see General Policy

[4] For definition of outcome see General Policy

[5] 13(f) Conservation General Policy refers

[6] See Footnote (2)

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