February 2012: The NZCA provided its strategic priorities to the Incoming Minister of Conservation after the 2011 General Election. Read the briefing to the Minister.

To: Hon Kate Wilkinson, Minister of Conservation
Date: February 2012

General Election 2011 - Briefing to the Incoming Minister

The New Zealand Conservation Authority is established by the Conservation Act 1987. At the time of the its establishment, the Minister of Conservation said that the Authority represented at a national level a partnership between the people of New Zealand and the Crown (represented by the Department).

The Authority understands that fiscally constrained circumstances, the relentless threats to New Zealand’s unique native species from introduced animals, plants and diseases, and the aspirations of tangata whenua for roles of responsibility require new approaches to conservation1 management. At the same time, it is keen to see a reciprocal understanding that conservation resources represent New Zealand’s natural capital, and investment in them is necessary if that capital is not to be depleted and New Zealand’s national economic and well-being aspirations are to be met.

The Authority prizes its role as independent conservation advisor to you and the Director-General, and looks forward to your attendance at an Authority meeting to discuss your priorities for the next three years, and to regular meetings thereafter to exchange ideas and debate issues of significance to conservation. I also see value in continuing the tradition of regular meetings between the two of us so that we can keep abreast of the key matters each of us is considering at the time and to discuss options for their solution.

The Authority discussed its strategic priorities for this term at its December 2011 meeting. It identified four areas of focus:

1. Statutory

  • Approval of Conservation Management Strategies.
  • Approval of National Park Management Plans.
  • Proposed Kauri National Park investigation.
  • Section 4 of the Conservation Act and governance arrangements resulting from Treaty settlements.

2. Strategic advice to the Minister and Director-General of Conservation

  • How to maintain and increase conservation work within the constrained economic and changing social environment.2

3. Wider awareness raising regarding conservation issues of national importance

  • Rivers: We look forward to discussing with you our paper ‘Protecting New Zealand’s Rivers’.
  • Protection of biodiversity: Biosecurity threats to the wellbeing of native species and ecosystems will continue to be our number one conservation concern. A particular focus is how to reconcile the growing demand for weed and pest control with fewer resources.
  • Marine: The Authority has flagged this area and will decide if and what involvement it wishes to have.
  • Legislation: e.g. Game Animal Council Bill.

4. Monitoring and evaluation

  • Effectiveness of conservation management.
  • NZCA self-evaluation.

In undertaking these priorities we will be engaging with others as appropriate and giving due consideration to Section 4 of the Conservation Act.

We look forward to discussing these strategic priorities with you, and hearing your own in return.

Yours sincerely

Dr Kay Booth

1 The Authority’s use of the word conservation accords with the meaning in the Conservation Act.  That is: the preservation and protection of natural and historic resources for the purposes of maintaining their intrinsic values, providing for their appreciation and recreational enjoyment by the public, and safeguarding the options for future generations.  In other words, conservation incorporates appropriate recreational use and is not the same as ‘nature conservation’.

2 Number 3 occurs within the same context.

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