Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage and the NZ Conservation Authority have directed DOC to undertake partial reviews of the Conservation General Policy and the General Policy for National Parks, to give better effect to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Date:  06 August 2019 Source:  Office of the Minister of Conservation and NZ Conservation Authority

The direction is in response to the recent Supreme Court decision in Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki, a case which examined the way DOC considered Treaty principles when it granted two commercial tour concessions on Rangitoto and Motutapu Islands.

“The Department has an obligation under section 4 of the Conservation Act to give effect to the Treaty of Waitangi in the way it manages conservation lands and waters. I have asked the DOC to consider ways it can better deliver on those responsibilities across its work,” says Eugenie Sage.

The partial reviews will be progressed together and will focus exclusively on issues associated with section 4 of the Conservation Act.

“Improving the way Treaty principles are considered in conservation decisions is also a priority for the New Zealand Conservation Authority,” says the Authority chairperson, Edward Ellison.

To recognise the significant interest Māori have in the way the Department delivers its Treaty obligations, the work will begin with a period of early engagement with Māori.

“We want Māori to be involved in designing the process for delivering the partial review,” says Edward Ellison.

“New Zealand’s natural places are important to all New Zealanders as well as Māori, so Conservation Boards, stakeholders, and the wider public will be asked to participate when the partial review process begins in earnest next year,” concluded Eugenie Sage.

Background information

The role of the New Zealand Conservation Authority Te Pou Atawhai Taiao O Aotearoa is to advise the Minister of Conservation and the Director-General of Conservation.

It is closely involved in conservation planning and policy development affecting the management of public conservation areas administered by DOC as it approves the statutory strategies and plans which set objectives for their management. 

The Conservation General Policy guides the DOC’s management of the lands and water it administers under the Conservation Act 1987 and other conservation legislation. The General Policy for National Parks guides the management of national parks.

Any changes to the general policies will flow through to other, more specific, conservation management planning documents that guide and direct how conservation outcomes are delivered regionally.

The scope of the partial review process is likely to include consideration of relevant recommendations made by the Waitangi Tribunal in Ko Aotearoa Tēnei: A Report into Claims Concerning New Zealand Law and Policy Affecting Māori Culture and Identity and issues raised in the Wai 262 claim.


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