The Mount Aspiring, Paparoa and Westland Tai Poutini National Parks have been expanded by 1250 hectares as a consequence of five blocks being added by Order in Council yesterday at Cabinet.
“These rich forests and river flats are valuable additions to these three national parks. The areas were previously privately-owned but were strategically acquired by the Government’s Nature Heritage Fund specifically because of their high conservation values and the value they added to the national parks,” Dr Smith says.
Paparoa National Park is being expanded by 214 hectares just south of Inangahua Junction on the highway between Reefton and Murchison.
Westland Tai Poutini National Park is being expanded by 378 hectares just south of the Waiho River close to Waiho Beach.
Mount Aspiring National Park is being expanded by 657 hectares, with 68 hectares at the confluence of the Landsborough and Haast Rivers, 527 hectares of river flats at the Clarke, Lansborough and Haast Rivers, and 62 hectares at Dancing Creek. This area adjacent to the Haast Highway is particularly important from a scenic and tourism perspective.
“These national park additions have been strongly supported by the West Coast/Tai Poutini and Otago Conservation Boards, the New Zealand Conservation Authority and both local iwi, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Waewae and Te Rūnanga o Makaawhio,” Dr Smith says.
“These decisions and additions strengthen New Zealand’s outstanding network of national parks. This high level of protection will ensure these areas are conserved for their wildlife value and enjoyed by many generations to come.”
The additions have been made under Section 7 of the National Parks Act 1980 and come into effect on 25 September 2014.