Conservation General Policy and General Policy for National Parks partial reviews
DOC is undertaking a partial review of these general policies focussing exclusively on considerations associated with section 4 of the Conservation Act 1987.
How you can provide input into the partial review process.
On 13 June 2007 the New Zealand Conservation Authority (NZCA) approved and adopted a minor change to the wording of the section of the General Policy for National Parks relating to the customary use of traditional materials and indigenous species. It deleted the word 'non-commercial' from policy 2(g).
The Chairperson of the NZCA, Kerry Marshall, said that "Following representations from and consultation with Ngai Tahu, and having also received advice from the Department of Conservation and considered the views of the Minister, the Authority has decided that it is appropriate to include all customary use of traditional materials and indigenous species under one policy." Customary use is defined in the policy as “Gathering and use of natural resources by tangata whenua according to tikanga.” The Minister of Conservation, Hon Chris Carter, decided to make a similar change to the Conservation General Policy, sections 2(g) and 4.1(e).
The technical amendment addresses an error in the Conservation General Policy identified by the Supreme Court in Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki v Minister of Conservation  NZSC 122. In its judgment the Court took issue with a sentence in the Conservation General Policy, which effectively states section 4 is trumped by other statutory provisions in the event of an inconsistency.
After receiving the Court’s guidance, the Minister and the NZCA approved technical amendments to remove this error from the Conservation General Policy and the General Policy for National Parks (see crossed out text below). The technical amendment removed the statement from both general policies, so the policies now read as follows:
The Conservation Act 1987, and all the Acts listed in its First Schedule, must be so interpreted and administered as to give effect to the Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi (section 4, Conservation Act 1987). Where, however, there is clearly an inconsistency between the provisions of any of these Acts and the principles of the Treaty, the provisions of the relevant Act will apply.
The technical amendments were completed in August 2019. The removal of the statement did not change the objectives of the general policies and they continue to be applied in accordance with the law as reflected by the Supreme Court.