In the “Statement of Intent 2007 – 2010

The Department is facing an exciting three years, with new environmental, economic and social risks, challenges and opportunities. In response to this, the Department has set its strategic directions to provide overall guidance to staff as they respond to this evolving context, while giving effect to the legislation and Government priorities. An overarching objective of the Department’s work continues to be the provision of highly valued services to New Zealanders. The development of the Department’s work will reflect the Strategic Direction by continuing to focus on heritage protection, as a key contributor to the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy, and by engaging a broader range of New Zealanders in order to increase the value that people see in conservation. As a government department the Department’s work is also designed to contribute to the programme for lifting the performance of the State Services.

The Department will continue to deliver its core programmes – protecting New Zealand’s unique plants, animals and places; facilitating enjoyment of New Zealand’s culture and history; and providing opportunities for recreation. But, increasingly, a wider range of society’s interests will be more actively addressed, as part of the Government’s sustainability initiative – e.g., the need to maintain ecosystem services (supply of fresh water, soil retention and flood protection); develop core infrastructure (e.g., renewable electricity generation); addressing climate change by reducing atmospheric carbon; and contributing to the physical, mental, spiritual and cultural dimensions of health and well-being.

There will also be an increasing emphasis on working with others, both by maintaining and enhancing existing partnerships, and developing new ones. This will require building capacity in relationship management, providing better ways to share expertise and information, and helping partners develop their capability.

There is a need to interact more effectively with all New Zealanders, including those with little past contact with conservation. The Department must tell conservation stories in new and better ways, and find new ways to connect with communities. New information technologies also provide exciting opportunities, particularly to connect with younger people.

These imperatives, combined with ongoing significant resource constraints, mean that recruitment, development and retention policies must focus on effectiveness and adaptability, now and into the future.

Improved systems are also needed to allow optimal targeting of effort, using the best available information. A key focus is on the development of a natural heritage management system, but there will also be ongoing enhancement of the visitor asset management, recreation planning, historic asset management, and other existing systems.
The Statement of Intent and the business planning system will ensure that national priorities are implemented. Many of the systems that the Department develops (e.g., ecosystem classification systems) will also be of value to the Department’s partners.

A further area of emphasis is on better measurement and reporting of implementation, allowing decision-makers and the public to see more clearly the value that the Department is delivering.

The Department is committed to contributing to the Government’s sustainability programme. Existing programmes already do this. Not only is conservation a core part of sustainability, but protected lands provide most of New Zealand’s clean water, and enjoyment of protected areas helps build New Zealanders’ sense of commitment to sustainability. In the medium term, however, the contribution will broaden and strengthen. There will be an emphasis on strengthening links between the environmental sector and economic and social sectors, and between central and local government in the environmental sector.

The Department is committed to becoming a good role model as a sustainable organisation. The new Head Office, Conservation House, sets a benchmark for sustainable accommodation, and the Department will work over the medium term to embed sustainability principles and practices in the wider organisation. This includes implementing, monitoring and reporting on our obligations under the Govt3 programme, which focuses on energy efficiency in buildings and transport, recycling and waste minimisation, and procurement of office consumables and equipment. As one of six lead government agencies the Department will achieve carbon-neutrality by 2012.

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