NZCA Chair Edward Ellison gives an update on the latest meeting.

New Zealand Conservation Authority meeting October 2019

The New Zealand Conservation Authority held its latest meeting in Hamilton in the Waikato Conservation Board’s rohe on Monday 7 and Tuesday 8 October.

A field trip was undertaken on Monday 7 October, with visits to Pirongia Forest Park, which focused on the work of the Pirongia Restoration Society and included a short walk on the Mangakaara Bush Walk Track. The fieldtrip proceeded to Lake Ruatuna for a presentation from Living Water representatives from DOC and Fonterra, about their peat lakes project. This included a discussion on protecting freshwater environments within intensively farmed landscapes. The meeting itself took place on Tuesday 8 October.  

I would like to thank conservation board members Alan Cockle (CB Chairperson), Fiona Gower (CB Vice Chairperson), Flora Bartholomew, Joyce Birdsall, and Clare St Pierre for joining the Authority on both days and sharing valuable insights into key issues affecting the region. I would also like to acknowledge the work of the DOC staff who helped to organise the field trip and meeting, namely Adrienne Corfe (Board Support Officer), Michelle Lewis (Acting Statutory Manager), and Ray Scrimgeour (Operations Manager).

Director-General’s report

Lou Sanson (DOC Director-General) discussed aspects of his report; highlighting the success of Conservation Week and commending the work with Endangered Species. There was discussion around current conservation issues, such as Whitebait fishing and marine conservation.

Lou introduced SLT’s ideas around a re-evaluation of DOCs Purpose and Vision to better align the Department with their goal of delivering a “healthy people in nature” philosophy. The Authority was invited to provide feedback on the proposals.

NZCA Conservation Board Chairs Conference

Mervyn English (DOC Chief of Governance) spoke on the progress being made following the conference. He introduced the working group consisting of himself, Kathryn Roberts, John Galilee, Roy Grose, Sue Reed-Thomas, and Rick McGovern-Wilson (NZCA & Statutory Bodies Executive Officer). He identified the three main components of the conservation boards’ system improvement project as being: administration and support; governance; and, planning processes. He noted that the first step would be to evaluate and improve administration and support, providing quick relief to conservation boards. A two-day workshop took place on 10 and 11 October on this matter.

Budget planning for 2020-2021

Lou Sanson provided an overview of budgetary concerns for 2020. The Authority raised concern over the lack of funding for Kauri dieback and the need for increased funding for QEII. There was support for an increase in funding to marine conservation and myrtle rust.

NZCA Members environmental scan

Authority members identified the following issues:

  • The prescriptive nature of CMS plans – the Otago CMS is an example by which the prescriptive nature of plans could cause media issues for the Minister.
  • Trepidation over the partnership of Fonterra and DOC for the Living Waters project – concern was expressed that DOC undersold their brand through this association.
  • Community volunteer group resources – the Authority resolved to gain a better understanding of this landscape by collating information on the funding opportunities available and the demand on them.

Conservation Planning and Management

Mike Slater (DOC Deputy Director-General Operations), Marie Long (DOC Director Planning Permission and Land), Astrid Nunns (DOC Strategic Issues Manager), Anna Cameron (DOC Management Planning Manager), and Katherine Hughes (DOC National Management Planning Advisor) were present for detailed presentations and discussions, at a long-term strategic level, on the planning processes for CMS and NPMPs. The issues with the current process were identified and an ideal process was discussed; work to improve these systems is ongoing. There will be another session held at the December meeting.

Stakeholder Engagement

Māui Hudson (Associate Professor, The University of Waikato) presented on Genomic Research, and Mātauranga Māori. The presentation promoted discussions on the issues around how one maintains the provenance and recognises the origin of data as it moves through international systems.

Poto Davies and Don Scarlet (Co-chairs, Maungatautari Sanctuary) spoke on the management of and funding to the Sanctuary, highlighting the invaluable work they are doing with Kiwi for Kiwis and the Kokako Regeneration Group as we work towards a Predator Free 2050. The Sanctuary is benefiting from their co-management model.

Next Authority meeting

The next meeting of the Authority will be held in Wellington on the 9 and 10 December 2019.

No reira
E noho ora mai

Edward Ellison ONZM
Chairperson NZCA

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