National wild animal recovery operations permit renewal process
IntroductionLearn about the national WARO permit renewal process, land schedule decisions and the next stages.
July 2023 update
New national WARO land schedule approved
DOC received feedback on changes to the national WARO land schedule during three rounds of stakeholder consultation. The feedback has been considered against DOC’s obligations under the Wild Animal Control Act 1977 and its statutory planning policies.
Land schedule review report
A report with final recommendations has now been considered and decisions made.
- Land schedule review decision support document 2018-23 (PDF, 543K)
- Land schedule review decisions table June 2023 (PDF, 294K) Note: Zoom in to view text
Supporting information listed at the end of the report:
Note: Zoom in to view text on some documents
- Appendix 1 – Record of consultation by regions
- Appendix 2 – North Island regional land assessment
- Appendix 3 – South Island regional land assessment
- Appendix 4 – First and second round access recommendations (PDF, 333K)
- Appendix 5 – Third round access recommendations (PDF, 294K)
- Appendix 6 – Summary of feedback received from iwi/whānau/hapū (PDF, 173K)
- Appendix 7 – Record of stakeholder submissions (all rounds)
- Appendix 8 – Summary and analysis of submissions (all rounds) (PDF, 261K)
- Appendix 9 – Bio monitoring T1 FPI
- Appendix 10 – Final recommended changes to the land schedule (PDF, 241K)
Where no specific changes have been made the prior WARO land access status remains.
2023 WARO land schedule maps
The new land schedule maps are available below but cannot be used by operators until accepted as part of a new permit and conditions offer.
- Map 1 (PDF, 2856K)
- Map 2 (PDF, 4111K)
- Map 3 (PDF, 3762K)
- Map 4 (PDF, 4280K)
- Map 5 (PDF, 3462K)
- Map 6 (PDF, 3498K)
- Map 7 (PDF, 2083K)
- Map 8 (PDF, 2291K)
- Map 9 (PDF, 1781K)
- Map 10 (PDF, 3217K)
- Map 11 (PDF, 3181K)
- Map 12 (PDF, 4131K)
- Map 13 (PDF, 3027K)
- Map 14 (PDF, 2189K)
- Map 15 (PDF, 5082K)
- Map 16 (PDF, 3622K)
- Map 17 (PDF, 3487K)
- Map 18 (PDF, 3006K)
When will new WARO permits be offered to existing applicants?
DOC has commissioned an independent report into issues and opportunities to build WARO’s contribution to wild animal management. The findings will be taken into consideration when finalising the WARO concession applications and permit conditions report.
It is expected that a decision will be made and new permits offered, to approved applicants, by spring 2023.
Review of WARO land schedules
- The terms of the national WARO concessions are periodically reviewed. As part of this process, DOC considers and updates which areas of public conservation land are suitable for WARO - known as a WARO land schedule review.
- Decisions on WARO land access is based on number of factors including, legal and policy requirements, effects on other users, and the need to manage deer numbers to protect native ecosystems.
- The latest land schedule review has recently been completed, with maps and information about the changes uploaded to the DOC website.
- Determining the new North and South Island permit conditions and the applications for WARO concessions is the next step in the process. This is well advanced and a decision is expected by spring 2023.
- The ‘interim’ national WARO concessions, issued to eligible operators after the expiry of the 2015-2018 concession, remain active until the new concession is offered.
Key outcomes of the WARO land schedule review
There are 8.7 million hectares of public conservation land. 8.4 million hectares (96.6%) of this is included in the new schedule but not all was under review. Of this, 6.4 million hectares is accessible to WARO at some time annually (76.2%). This is 0.1% higher than the total accessible to WARO since the last change in 2015.
The conservation land within the schedule is designated either:
- Permitted (accessible to WARO all year except for Christmas and the roar exclusion periods, or
- Restricted (accessible to WARO only during certain seasons or periods), or
- Not Permitted (national WARO isn’t allowed at any time during the year).
Within the 6.4 million hectares accessible to WARO, just over 4 million hectares is Permitted all year (but for Christmas and the roar). This is a 2.3% reduction since 2015. 2.4 million hectares is Restricted to part of a year (a 4.2% increase). This reflects our desire to facilitate appropriate WARO access whilst considering the role of recreational hunters.
Decisions on other specific public conservation land can be viewed in the table on the Department’s website. Where there is no specified decision, the existing status remains.
Why do you need WARO?
Deer in New Zealand have no natural predators and can compromise the resilience, structure and diversity of forests, shrublands and native grasslands. Their browsing pressure needs to be reduced to enhance biodiversity and support ecosystem resilience to the impacts of climate change. WARO, makes a useful contribution to reducing deer numbers in some locations.
How did DOC consider feedback from stakeholders?
Initially districts and regions considered location-specific feedback and provided comments on these to a national panel. The panel, made up of DOC staff from Legal, Technical-Threats and Permissions, also considered general and location-specific feedback and the regional comments through subsequent consultation rounds. Feedback was assessed against the proposed changes, the requirements of the Wild Animal Control Act 1977, statutory planning and deer control policies, the effects on other users, the role of persons engaged in recreational hunting and the purpose of the land.
The national panel then made recommendations based on this information. Where feedback received wasn’t consistent with the legislation, deer control policy or scope of consultation, it couldn’t be accepted.
How can you say the recommendations allow for recreational hunter effort, when we have told you WARO disincentivises recreational hunting?
DOC needs both recreational hunters and WARO to contribute to controlling wild animals. In general terms, both are also required by legislation (depending on the land classification and effects) and the Deer Control Policy. Recreational hunter effort, and effects on other users, is considered by having (as a minimum) WARO exclusion periods during Christmas, the Roar, Easter, certain seasons in Restricted areas and by having WARO prohibited year-round in some other locations.
Why hasn’t a wider review of the WARO management ‘system’ been undertaken?
The Department’s former DDG Operations wrote to WARO stakeholders, on 22 February 2018, advising that there was not sufficient justification, at that time, for the Department to undertake a review of the WARO management ‘system’. The processing of concession applications is also not the right arena in which to be undertaking a ‘system’ review.
Instead, DOC has commissioned a systems analysis of Wild Animal Recovery Operations (WARO) to define problems that might merit work on improvements. The WARO analysis project is not a review of WARO, its purpose is to provide an up-to-date analysis of views and data around WARO aimed at providing a comprehensive understanding of issues and identifying opportunities to build its contribution to wild animal management throughout New Zealand.
The findings would be considered as part of the proposed new permit conditions and term.
How does this process relate to the tahr control operation?
Tahr are not included in the national WARO concession. They are managed under the Himalayan Thar Control Plan 1993 (HTCP) and separate authorisations. Any aerial shooting of tahr must still be consistent with the Wild Animal Control Act and the HTCP.
Why has the land schedule review, and permit updates, taken so long?
We acknowledge it has taken longer than we hoped. To ensure a thorough and robust process was carried out, it took time to gather the necessary information, to undertake three rounds of stakeholder consultation and to consider the significant number of responses. It has also been delayed by a lack of capacity at DOC and changes to key staff during the process.
How many WARO operators with concessions are there and how many have applied for new concessions?
There are currently 34 WARO operators with active concessions. There are 39 applications for new concessions of which 32 have been waiting since 2018.
The final consultation on the national WARO land schedule review closed on 11 May 2022. 122 submissions were received. These have been recorded and issues identified. All have been considered by the review panel against the Wild Animal Control Act, Deer Control Policy, statutory plans, and other relevant guidance.
A report summarising the review process, submissions received, types of issues raised, and the responses of the review panel along with a final list of recommended changes to the schedule, has been produced.
The report was due to be considered by the decision-maker at the end of July 2022. Due to internal staff changes, a new decision maker has been recently appointed. This has delayed the expected timeframe for a decision.
The report is now before the new Director of Regulatory Services and a decision on the land schedule changes is pending. When a decision is made submitters and stakeholders will be notified.
A second drafted report on the consideration of applications for new national WARO permits will then be finalised and considered by the Director. Successful applicants will then be issued with new permits as soon as possible after that.
The reason for the third and final round of consultation was to seek additional feedback:
- on draft recommendations made available between December 2018 and February 2019, particularly from those who were unable to do so previously, and
- some recent amendments to those recommendations.
People who have previously sent feedback were welcome to do so again.
Summary of submissions
Summary of submission comments received during the June/July 2018 and December/February 2019 stakeholder consultations.
What's being changed
This document details the recommended access changes for WARO.
- December 2018/February 2019 land access recommendations with March 2022 amendments (PDF, 300K)
- March 2022 maps showing draft recommended WARO access (ZIP, 19.6MB)
Feedback is limited to only places that have changed
The purpose of consultation is to ensure we have feedback on the land recommendations to better inform the decision. Where recommendations have not changed, we do not need additional feedback. That said, we also need more feedback from stakeholders that were unable to make submissions during the December 2018/February 2019 consultation period.
Recommendations allow for recreational hunter effort
DOC needs both recreational hunters and WARO to control wild animals. In general terms, both are also required by legislation (but depending on the land classification) and Deer Control Policy. History has shown if WARO is completely excluded, deer numbers generally increase.
Recreational hunter effort is taken into account by having, as a minimum, WARO exclusion periods during Christmas, the Roar, and Easter, and by having some areas where WARO is excluded year-round.
How this process relates to the tahr control operation
Tahr are not included in the national WARO concession. They are managed under the Himalayan Thar Control Plan 1993 (HTCP). Any aerial shooting of tahr must be consistent with the Wild Animal Control Act and the HTCP. Separate authorisations are required for commercial aerial control of tahr.
People who have sent feedback are welcome to do so again by email email@example.com. Feedback closed 5 pm Wednesday 11 May 2022.
What we'll do next
Further feedback will be considered and assessed against the Wild Animal Control Act, Deer Control Policy, other relevant legislation and statutory plans. Recommendations will then be finalised before going to the decision-maker – the Director Planning, Permissions & Land.
Overview and analysis of general submission comments received during the June/July 2018 WARO stakeholder consultation: Summary of submissions 2018 (PDF, 224K)
November 2018 maps showing draft recommended WARO access:
- Map 1 (PDF, 2,980K)
- Map 2 (PDF, 1,910K)
- Map 3 (PDF, 1,720K)
- Map 4 (PDF, 1,930K)
- Map 5 (PDF, 1,550K)
- Map 6 (PDF, 1,690K)
- Map 7 (PDF, 1,060K)
- Map 8 (PDF, 1,440K)
- Map 9 (PDF 871K)
- Map 10 (PDF, 1,290K)
- Map 11 (PDF, 1,160K)
- Map 12 (PDF 1,660K)
- Map 13 (PDF 1,160K)
- Map 14 (PDF, 927K)
- Map 15 (PDF, 2,270K)
- Map 16 (PDF, 1,570K)
- Map 17 (PDF 1,560K)
- Map 18 (PDF, 811K)
WARO land assessment process
The focus of the land assessment for the 2018 national WARO concession is on:
- new areas of public conservation land that have not previously been assessed for WARO access
- land that has had a change in land status or is covered by new or revised management planning documents
- land previously assessed for the 2015 WARO concession where issues have come up that may mean a change in WARO access is needed for the 2018 concession.
June/July 2018 consultation
The focus of the June external stakeholder consultation is on:
- the draft recommendations on WARO land access, including recommended access dates (timings). For the current current North Island (PDF, 1,015K) and South Island (PDF, 846K) concessions, access dates can be found in Schedules 4 and 5 of the permits. These dates are open for comment. Written comment needs to be with the department by 5 pm 16 July 2018 (extended from 30 June 2018). People who have sent in submissions previously are welcome to resubmit.
External feedback received on other aspects of the WARO concession, apart from the land and access dates, will be noted but are not the focus of this engagement as they are more a matter for DOC and WARO concessionaires.
June/July draft WARO land access recommendations
- Northern North Island (Excel, 13K)
- Auckland (Excel, 14K)
- Central North Island (Excel, 18K)
- Hauraki/Waikato/Taranaki (Excel, 19K)
- Lower North Island (Excel, 17K)
- Northern South Island (Excel 17K)
- Eastern South Island (Excel, 16K)
- Western South Island (Excel, 14K)
- Southern South Island (Excel, 15K)
- Map 1 (PDF, 1,336K)
- Map 2 (PDF, 1,841K)
- Map 3 (PDF, 1,586K)
- Map 4 (PDF, 1,834K)
- Map 5 (PDF, 1,474K)
- Map 6 (PDF, 1,565K)
- Map 7 (PDF, 1,116K)
- Map 8 (PDF, 1,460K)
- Map 9 (PDF, 945K)
- Map 10 (PDF, 1,245K)
- Map 11 (PDF, 1,286K)
- Map 12 (PDF, 1,645K)
- Map 13 (PDF, 1,341K)
- Map 14 (PDF, 1,149K)
- Map 15 (PDF, 2,192K)
- Map 16 (PDF, 1,553K)
- Map 17 (PDF, 1,713K)
- Map 18 (PDF, 960K)