Read the New Zealand Conservation Authorities criteria for consideration of national park management plans

Adopted 11 April 2012

This paper outlines the criteria the Authority will use in its approval role for national park management plans (NPMPs).  It provides a checklist for the Authority and assists conservancies prepare for delivery of the NPMP to the Authority.  If conservancies follow DOC best practice in the development of national park management plans and analysis of submissions this will assist the Authority undertake its approval role.  The Authority requests that the Conservator attests, in writing, to the delivery of each of the following seven criteria when delivering a NPMP to the Authority.

In undertaking its approval role, the Authority will consider the following criteria:

  • Does the NPMP deliver on the desired outcomes that it articulates?
  • Does it comply?
  • Is implementation of the Plan able to be objectively monitored via the conservation board?
  • Is it well written?
  • Has good process been followed in the development of the NPMP?

The Authority also wishes to know:

  • Are there any outstanding issues?
  • Are there any specific matters raised in the plan that may require legislative change upon which we want to advise the Minister?

1: Does the NPMP deliver on the desired outcomes that it articulates?

  • Sense of purpose and direction that gives coherent guidance to achieve integrated conservation management.
  • Clear statements of values.
  • Measurable outcome1  statements.
  • Logical progression from outcomes (which relate to values) to objectives to policies.
  • 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 threats applying integrated management considerations.
  • National consistency subject to reasonable local variances.
  • Application of the general to the specifics of the local circumstances2.
  • Prioritisation of “priorities” or identified actions (to guide business planning).
  • Inclusion of criteria to guide decision-making on specific management actions or concessions applications.
  • 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 land.
  • Inclusion of known development proposals which should be considered at the planning level rather than on concession by concession basis.

2: Does it comply?

  • With relevant Acts: legal advice identifying requirements for legal compliance has been received, and instances where legal advice has not been followed have been identified with reasons provided.
  • With General Policy for National Parks: any gaps or discretions in regard to implementation of the general policy identified and explained3.
  • With New Zealand’s obligations under international conventions.
  • With DOC national planning standards and advice notes.
  • With DOC publishing standards.

3: Is implementation of the Plan able to be objectively monitored via the conservation board?

  • Milestones4 that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound as much as possible.
  • Identification of the associations, roles and contributions of tangata whenua and the community generally in the development and delivery of the plan.

4: Is it well written?

  • 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.
  • A quality editing process has been completed.

5: Has good process been followed?

  • 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.

6: Are there any outstanding issues?

  • Issues unresolved by the NPMP are explained.
  • Any points of difference between the conservation board and the conservancy are expressed together with reasons.

7: Are there any specific matters raised in the plan that may require a high level policy or other decision upon which the Authority wants to advise the Minister?

  • Any matters are highlighted.

Note:  Consistent with its decision-making function, the Authority retains the ability to seek clarification on any matter or request amendments before approving a national park management plan.

[1]  For definition of outcome see General Policy for National Parks

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

[3]  Includes instances where General Policy states that a management plan “will” or “should” but the management plan does not do so, and where a management plan provision is at odds with a general policy that uses the word “will” or “should”.  NZCA expects that where a management plan is silent on the implementation of general policy (despite this being one of the statutory purposes of a management 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.”

[4]  See 12(f) General Policy for National Parks.

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