It’s time for the Minister of Conservation Maggie Barry to listen to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment and start untangling the mess around New Zealand’s stewardship land, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson.
“The Commissioner has called for the Department of Conservation to speed up its classification of stewardship land, so is anything going to happen now?
“After 6 months in the job, Minister Maggie Barry has had plenty of time to get on top of the issues.
“The latest report from the Commissioner Dr Jan Wright shows restraint given that in nearly two years, the government has taken no action to classify this land. This is often country of very high conservation values with very weak protection.
“The amount of land under stewardship classification is almost as much as in our National Parks. The vulnerability of this land, given the government’s enthusiasm for mining, should be a wakeup call for all New Zealanders.
“A substantial proportion of land in the ownership of DOC. Some of it is iconic and deserves high levels of protection.
“The Commissioner has done the hard work looking at the most important areas that should be classified and protected first. This work was completed nearly two years ago but the government, having said it would implement the recommendations, has done nothing.
“Minister Barry has now got to get to work,”’ says Ruth Dyson.