Govt should defer reclassification process for northern South Island

The Government should defer the reclassification of stewardship land in the northern part of the South Island until after the West Coast consultation process has concluded, National’s Conservation spokesperson Jacqui Dean says.

“Stewardship land has been in limbo for 35 years since the Department of Conservation was established. Recommendations have been delivered for the West Coast – the first region in New Zealand to go through the process.

“I’m glad the public consultation period for the West Coast has been extended by 20 working days to 23 August 2022. It was a sensible move given that the previous 40 day time frame was completely inadequate for local people to work their way through reports which cover the ecological, recreational, heritage and cultural values of more than half a million hectares of land on the West Coast.

“It’s important for people to have the time to digest what is quite complex information and then make a meaningful submission on it.

“The Government should now defer the reclassification process taking place in the northern South Island region so that lessons can be learnt from what takes place on the West Coast, and improvements can be made to the process so that it is fair and reasonable for local residents and interested parties.

“The reclassification of stewardship land needs to be done in a transparent way and with an appreciation that decisions made now will impact communities for generations to come.

“Environmental protection and economic growth can go hand-in-hand and that’s what people need to be able to see as part of this reclassification process. The Government must make sure it gets this process right.”