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Partial review of Conservation and National Parks policies to give better effect to treaty principles

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage and the New Zealand Conservation Authority have directed the Department of Conservation (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.

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.

For more information about the partial review see: https://www.doc.govt.nz/general-policies-partial-reviews