In the “Statement of Intent 2007 – 2010

I am pleased to present the Department’s Statement of Intent for 2007-10. Although this SOI is substantially the same as last year’s, I want to use this as an opportunity to signal that the Department is at a significant transitional point in terms of the ways in which it can contribute to New Zealand’s sustainable future.

Over the last year New Zealanders have become more aware of issues around climate change and the importance of living sustainably now, so that we leave a better future for generations yet to come. The Prime Minister, in her speech from the throne, has signalled the high priority that the Government attaches to sustainability and addressing climate change.

There are opportunities and challenges for the Department: opportunities to expand the values that New Zealanders attach to conservation by demonstrating how much our management of natural heritage contributes to carbon storage, water and soil conservation and flood control; and challenges to operate in ways that will be sustainable in themselves. In particular, the Department will be one of the Government’s lead agencies to operate a carbon-neutral business by 2012.

The Department’s strategic direction requires us to continue to build on our previous achievements and keep delivering the values that New Zealanders have traditionally associated with conservation, and to identify and deliver additional values – all for the purpose of increasing the value that people see in conservation. The end result should be that more conservation is done and there are better results for conservation.

The Department’s work on the public conservation lands and waters, as described in the pages that follow, will continue at current levels, with specific effort going into finding ways to increase the amount, the effectiveness and the efficiency of the work we do. This work is the foundation for building the Department’s wider contribution to conservation. The Department’s role in supporting conservation work on private land is a key feature of the change that the strategic direction will bring about and it is work that is critical for the future of many of our endangered species and ecosystems.

Most of the land managed by the Department is available as a recreation arena for New Zealanders and tourists. As more people enjoy the outdoors the Department has to ensure that increasing opportunities are made available while still safeguarding our heritage. A significant piece of work in the coming year will be the Department’s development of the strategic context for the its contribution to outdoor recreation.

I expect the next Statement of Intent to look somewhat different as it picks up the additional values that conservation provides and outlines what we aim to achieve in those areas. These changes start with a fresh look at our outcomes, intermediate outcomes, outputs and measures, against the context of the evolving environment and our strategic direction.

Al Morrison

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