In the “Department of Conservation's Statutory Planning Processes

The Conservation Act and Reserves Act provide for different categories of conservation land. National parks are governed by the National Parks Act. The control and management of some public reserves is vested in district councils and they are responsible for the preparation of their management plans.

Your local DOC office can assist in identifying the legislation applicable to any public conservation land you may be interested in.

Statutory framework for management of public conservation land

Conservation Act
National Parks Act
Walkways Act
Reserves Act
Marine Reserves Act
Other acts specifically referred to in the First Schedule of the Conservation Act.

General Policy
Conservation General Policy
National Parks General Policy
Walkways General Policy

Conservation Management Strategies*
(Usually known as a ‘CMS’)

Management Plans
e.g. Conservation Management Plans
Sports Fish and Game Management Plans
National Park Management Plans

*Each DOC conservancy has a CMS.


Legislation. At the top of the whole process is the conservation legislation. All decisions relating to conservation of our natural and historic resources are based on the purposes of the relevant laws. The Department of Conservation administers over twenty different acts. If you have an issue with something that the legislation says, then your only real course of action is to bring it up with your local MP.


Your nearest national park is redrafting its management plan. You are a hunter in the area and you feel very strongly that deer should be managed as a hunting resource. When submissions are called for, you spend a lot of time and energy writing a submission on why hunting is a valid recreational pursuit, why venison is important for the local community, and why DOC should protect deer when the management plan is drafted.

You wait for the national park draft management plan to come out, and you are disappointed to see that deer come second best to the preservation of native plants and animals. You feel like DOC didn’t even consider your submission.


The National Parks Act specifically says that national parks are to be managed for the preservation of the native wildlife, and that as far as possible introduced wildlife is to be exterminated. The draft management plan for a national park MUST follow the direction of the legislation. To ask for the preservation of deer, an introduced animal, is in direct contradiction to the purpose of the law relating to national parks.

General Policies. There are three main general policies that relate to conservation in New Zealand. These are the Conservation General Policy (for the Conservation, Wildlife, Marine Reserves, Marine Mammals Protection, Reserves and Wild Animal Control Acts), the National Parks General Policy (for the National Parks Act) and the New Zealand Walkways Policy. The purpose of a general policy is to provide guidance for the interpretation of conservation legislation and the development of conservation management strategies and plans.

Conservation Management Strategies (CMSs) are the DOC planning manuals explaining how the purposes and aims of the legislation will be carried out by the DOC conservancy in your region. They implement the directions provided in the general policies. They aim for integrated management of public conservation land. This means they are designed to provide for management that gives the best opportunities for a wide range of conservation outcomes, such as species protection and recovery, provision of recreation opportunities and appreciation of historical heritage. They also balance out the sometimes conflicting desired outcomes for the various interests in particular areas of public conservation land. They are a very useful public document, and can be obtained from or viewed at your nearest DOC office.

Conservation Management Plans (CMPs) are detailed site-specific plans for particular sites that are designed to achieve the goals set out in the CMS. They relate to the management of a particular conservation area in your region. Conservation management plans are not required, unless they have been specifically mentioned as a task in the relevant CMS. However, each national park has a management plan.

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