To: Hon Eugenie Sage, Minister of Conservation
Date: 2 August 2018
The Authority is disappointed to hear that the lease for Mt White Station has been sold before the Department of Conservation and Land Information New Zealand resolved the issue of the land tenure of the 997ha that comprises the Riversdale Flats.
The Authority visited these Flats in February 2017, as part of its fieldtrip while in Canterbury for their meeting. We were assured by DOC staff then, and subsequently in a letter in response to Warren Parker’s letter to the Director-General (letters attached), that DOC would work with LINZ to resolve the ownership issue.
The Authority wants to highlight the fact that the Flats were gazetted as a Reserve for National Park Purposes in 1909, but were not included when the Arthur’s Pass National Park was created in 1930. Both the 2007 Arthur’s Pass National Park Management Plan and the 2016 Canterbury (Waitaha) Conservation Management Strategy, which were approved by the Authority, gave clear policy direction to the Department that this land was to be incorporated into the National Park. That it has not done so is extremely disappointing.
The matter was also raised with LINZ and the Overseas Investment Office when management of both attended the Authority’s August 2017 meeting. The Authority was advised that it was intended that the matter would be resolved before any transfer of the lease would be approved.
We urgently ask you to intercede, in your dual roles as Minister of Conservation and Land Information, to ensure that the land tenure of the Riversdale Flats are resolved, and they are added to the National Park as was the original intention.