About a third of the land we manage is stewardship land (over 2.7 million hectares), which is managed for conservation purposes but does not have any special layer of protection.
Stewardship land is the term given for land that was allocated to DOC when it was formed in 1987. It includes former State forest and Crown Land that were considered to have conservation value.
Reclassifying stewardship areas is complex and time consuming because of the sheer amount of land needing to be reclassified, the assessments that need to be undertaken, the potential survey requirements and associated high costs.
The Minister of Conservation plans to introduce a Bill in 2022 which would speed up and simplify the reclassification process and ensure more efficient public consultation.
We are committed to giving effect to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi during the reclassification process.
The Conservation Act 1987 will need to be amended to allow for more efficient public consultation requirements and ensure the process to reclassify stewardship land is more efficient.
The amendments will create a clear process for the Minister of Conservation to accept and give effect to recommendations to reclassify and dispose of stewardship land. There may be consequential amendments to other Acts.