Will tourism money really go to wildlife protection?

Maggie Barry needs to front with evidence to back up her claim that profits gained from Government investment in DOC’s tourism will be reinvested in biodiversity protection, the Green Party said today.

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry made the claim on RNZ’s Morning Report this morning that improving the Department of Conservation’s (DOC) tourism infrastructure will attract more tourists, helping the government to earn more money, which will then be reinvested in biodiversity protection.

“DOC’s Great Walks are operating at a multi-million dollar loss, I’m sceptical they’ll suddenly become great earners or that National will ring-fence any potential profits to fund protection of threatened species," said Green Party Conservation spokesperson Mojo Mathers.

“If Maggie Barry really plans to ring-fence DOC’s tourism profits and reinvest them in biodiversity protection she needs to show us the policy. If she believes the Great Walks are going to generate large profits she should show us the forecasts.

“The simple fact is that under National it’s become harder for DOC to do its core work of protecting New Zealand’s native wildlife and bush.

“National’s threatened species strategy ignores hundreds of species facing extinction, invasive wilding pines are increasing by 50,000 ha a year, and only a small portion of the conservation estate is being protected from predators.

“National needs to recognise that New Zealand is experiencing a biodiversity crisis and that if it doesn’t resource DOC to manage our threatened species properly, we are going to lose the unique wildlife and environment we treasure.

“The Greens in government will ensure that DOC is resourced properly to do its core work of protecting species and habitats” said Ms Mathers.

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