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New Zealand Conservation Authority

Agenda Item: 157.8


Meeting No. 157

REPORT

Meeting Date: 2 and 3 October 2017

Prepared By: Rick McGovern-Wilson, NZCA Executive Officer

Subject: Review of the General Policy for National Parks

NZCA Strategic NZCA Strategic Priorities:


Priority and/or the
D: Treaty of Waitangi and Post-Treaty settlement conservation
Relevant DOC SOI
management
Goal
J: Effectiveness and efficiency of the Department’s conservation
management

Recommendation or It is recommended that the Authority:


Action Required
a) Provide feedback to enhance the Terms of Reference
b) Adopt the finally agreed Terms of Reference; and
c) Note resourcing and other project requirements will be
confirmed at the December meeting when the Committee
reports back with a workplan outline and budget.

Context At the August 2017 meeting, the Authority agreed that it would
initiate a review of the General Policy for National Parks (2005).
A committee was established to lead the review, comprising
Mark Christensen (convenor), David Barnes, Mita Harris and
Sandra Cook.
Mark Christensen will lead a discussion on the development of
the Terms of Reference, timelines and work programme. Issues
that need to be addressed include:
• What is the extent for change – should this be a revamp,
or back to first principles?
• What is the future operating context in which the GPNP
will be applied; and how can this be accommodated whilst
meeting legislated requirements?
• Can the post-Treaty settlement context for Maori be more
effectively reflected in the GPNP?
• Who “owns” the GPNP under the National Parks Act 1980
(NPA), as this identifies the role of the Authority, and how
they might access resourcing for the review.
The proposed Terms of Reference are outlined in the attached
paper, and seek members’ input.

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DOC-3168813 19 September 2017
New Zealand Conservation Authority
Agenda Item: 157.8
Meeting No. 157

REPORT

Meeting Date: 2 and 3 October 2017

Prepared By: Rick McGovern-Wilson, NZCA Executive Officer

Subject: Review of the General Policy for National Parks

Background/Introduction
1. The NZCA Chair Kerry Marshall’s forward to the 2005 edition of the GPNP succinctly
encapsulates its purpose:
General Policy for National Parks provides guidance for managing national parks – the
jewels of New Zealand’s public conservation lands. They are places that have been
set aside for their intrinsic worth and for the benefit, use and enjoyment of the public.
Each national park requires a management plan which is developed in consultation
with the public. The New Zealand Conservation Authority’s role is to adopt statements
of general policy to guide the preparation of such plans.
This General Policy replaces the 1983 policy which has served national parks well and
the essence of the old policy has been retained. An important consideration in this
2005 General Policy was to provide for more appropriate recognition of the interests of
tangata whenua in national parks.
The policies in this document ensure that consideration will always be given to the
appropriate balance between the preservation of native plants and animals, the
welfare in general of the parks, and the rights of the public to access and enjoy these
special places. Each park has its own unique characteristics which affect where public
use will be encouraged and where it will be controlled – amenities areas on the one
hand and wilderness and specially protected areas on the other are the extreme ends
of the spectrum.
The bottom line, of course, is that national parks are preserved and maintained in
perpetuity. We must be ever vigilant to ensure that this basic tenet is not massaged or
eroded.
The policies set out in this General Policy are directed to the attainment of that
objective.
Except for an amendment in 2007 (to further better reflect considerations of tangata
whenua) more than a decade has passed since the last review. The “world” for
conservation management has changed significantly since then: for example, Treaty
settlements are largely completed; rapid growth in tourist numbers; partnerships with
business and philanthropy to attract new investment for conservation; Internet enabled
technology to support improved visitor awareness and experience; and, new legislation
and heightened accountability for health and safety.
As well, the NZCA’s input to the Paparoa NPMP (approved December 2016), work in
progress for the Westland and Mt Aoraki NPMP updates, and discussions with Ngai
Tahu and other iwi, suggest it is time to relook at the GPNP. And, in recommending
the addition of the Mokihinui area to the Kahurangi National Park, the Authority
resolved under part 6:

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Recommends the incoming NZCA (from 1 July 2017) prioritise a review of the General Policy
for National Parks (prepared in 2005 and not since reviewed);
This resolution was addressed at the August meeting of the new Authority with the
establishment of a Committee to undertake this work.

Details
2. The Committee is likely to require resources to support external legal review, travel for
meetings with Maori and other key stakeholders; project management support such as
document discovery and preparation.
3. It is proposed the Committee reports back to the December 2017 Authority meeting
with a reasonably detailed workplan and budget for approval. In the meantime, the
Chair and Executive Officer will brief the D-G on these pending requirements.

Terms of Reference
4. Draft terms are as follows:
a) Undertake a global scan of developments in National Park policy and
management to identify innovations and approaches that might usefully be
applied in the New Zealand context;
b) Consult with stakeholders of National Parks plans to identify current policy
limitations (if any) and possible remedies to these;
c) Meet with iwi representatives to understand their perspectives on national parks
and the general policy in a post-Treaty settlement context;
d) Meet with the Minister of Conservation to obtain her/his views on the general
policy and longer-term outlook for its application;
e) Engage with Department D-G, DD-Gs and policy and planning staff to understand
the “practical realities’ of planning under the current general policy and where
they believe improvements could be made;
f) Review examples of best practice management of commercial activities in
national parks and their applicability to New Zealand, and obtain such external
legal and policy advice as necessary;
g) Review and amend the GPNP considering findings from (a) to (f), and a relook at
the relevant legislation and the interface with Conservation General Policy (and
any other policies that are contingent or impacted by the GPNP). Document
proposed amendments and the rationale for this;
h) Seek independent legal, research and other perspectives on the amendments
(and any other enhancements they might proposed) to finalise a draft amended
GPNP for NZCA review;
i) Publicly notified to provide opportunity for stakeholder and Maori review of and
submissions on the amended policy, as per s44 of the NPA;
j) Propose a final revised GPNP to the NZCA for adoption.
The aim is to complete this work within a 12-month timeframe. The Committee should
provide a brief report on progress at each NZCA meeting during this time frame and
bring any contentious issues to the Authority’s attention for advice.

Conclusion
5. The GPNP is a key document ensuring effective plans for managing New Zealand’s
national parks. Maintaining the balance of what is ‘sacrosanct’ about National Parks

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whilst also moving with the times and expectations of today’s (and future) society will
be a challenge for the Committee.

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