news & issues

One-third of NZ's land area is public conservation land, where natural and historic resources are protected, and recreational opportunities encouraged.

Straterra accepts that any development proposal on public conservation land in New Zealand will face stricter criteria than on other land. It is noted that mining with surface expression is prohibited on 50% of this land, under Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act 1991. That includes national parks and marine reserves.

The Conservation Act 1987 is now 29 years old – Straterra considers a thorough overhaul is needed to recognise and provide adequately for the 4500 businesses operating under concession on public conservation land, and 110 mines and quarries (including shingle extraction from rivers) Straterra has proposed a number of changes, including:

  • Amend the definition of conservation to include economic activity on conservation land

  • Amend the functions of the Department of Conservation to include working with businesses

  • Remove the ability of the New Zealand Conservation Authority to approve national park management plans and conservation management strategies, and have that rest with the Department

  • Abolish most land classifications, including of stewardship areas, as superseded by General Policies for conservation, and for national parks

  • Provide for land swaps for most classes of conservation land, on the same rationale as above

  • Define minerals activities in the Act to avoid the need for explorers and miners to apply for concessions because relevant matters are already covered under access arrangements.