The Government will consider the implications of today’s Supreme Court decision on conservation land swaps, Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says.
“The 84-page decision deals with a number of very complex issues with far reaching implications which will take some time to work through,” Minister Barry says.
“The appeal to the Supreme Court was not about whether the Ruataniwha Dam should go ahead – it was about obtaining clarity after differing and split decisions from the High Court and the Court of Appeal.”
“For the past 30 years we all believed that the legislation allowed the swap of a low value piece of conservation land for a piece of land with higher conservation values.”
“The Supreme Court finding that the Director General cannot consider that broader picture has far reaching implications and we will now be working through the effects of that.”
“My concern is to manage public conservation land in a way that will achieve the best possible outcomes for conservation.”
“We will now look at changing the law to ensure we can continue to improve conservation outcomes by having the ability to make land swaps where the outcome would be a win for conservation.”
“Having that ability is particularly important for regional New Zealand where most of the DOC estate is located. Swapping lower value land for higher value land is sensible and a win-win for the regions,” Ms Barry says.
A new Threat Management Plan released today will help protect endangered New Zealand sea lions, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry say.
The New Zealand sea lion/rāpoka Threat Management Plan sets out a five-year programme of engagement, targeted research, direct mitigation, and regular monitoring at all known breeding sites.
The New Zealand sea lion is classified as “Nationally Critical” and there are fewer than 12,000 left. Ninety eight per cent of breeding occurs on Campbell and the Auckland Islands, but there are also small populations on the lower South Island and Stewart Island.
“This plan, supported by a government funding package of $2.8 million announced last month, sets out practical actions and measures to mitigate threats to sea lions and will help their recovery,” says Mr Guy.
“The threats to sea lions are varied and no single factor is solely responsible for the decline in sea lion numbers.
“While disease and commercial fishing are the greatest threats for sea lions at the Auckland Islands, incidents involving humans, such as shootings, are a greater threat to sea lions on New Zealand’s South Island and Stewart Island. Poor habitat and pups getting stuck in holes are the greatest threats on Campbell Island.
“Management of commercial fishing interactions with sea lions will remain a key focus for MPI. A new Technical Advisory Group has made recommendations on the Operational Plan for the Southern Squid fishery which is currently being reviewed.
“Fishers are keen to do the right thing and avoid bycatch. Sea Lion Exclusion Devices (SLEDs) have been effective in reducing sea lion captures and there will be further research into their operation.”
Ms Barry says a community liaison officer will be employed to help address the human threats, facilitate growth of the population and foster a positive reaction to having more sea lions on the New Zealand coastline.
“This officer will develop and implement a community education campaign to help prepare people for more sea lions returning to the South Island, and help them appreciate how precious and vulnerable sea lions are.
“Another key action of the Plan will be to carry out more research into the disease Klebsiella pneumoniae, and work out ways of mitigating the effects of this disease.
“We already have a fine example of kiwi No: 8 wire ingenuity in ‘Planks for Pups’ – a simple but effective measure to save pups that fall into holes at breeding sites on the subantarctic islands. The holes are deep and steep sided and without the planks to climb out on the pups can’t feed and either starve to death or drown.
“Other practical steps will include regular monitoring of all four breeding sites including more frequent monitoring on Campbell Island - the second largest breeding colony - and developing more solutions to reduce pup mortality on Campbell Island,” Ms Barry says.
The New Zealand sea lion/rāpoka Threat Management Plan will continue to involve partnership with Ngāi Tahu as a Treaty Partner and stakeholder groups.
New mechanisms to weave mātauranga Māori throughout each workstream will be developed in partnership with whānau, hapū and iwi, something which has been absent from recovery plans in the past.
A New Zealand sea lion/rāpoka Forum and an Advisory Group have been established to aid in prioritisation of the annual work plan to support the NZSL TMP.
Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry has announced two new appointments to the New Zealand Film Commission Board.
“The New Zealand Film Commission is successfully bringing our stories to New Zealanders and people overseas and these two new appointments will help ensure the ongoing strength of the industry,” Ms Barry says.
“Paula Jalfon from Queenstown and Aucklander Brett O’Riley bring considerable experience in film, new technologies and innovation to the board.”
“Paula has 24 years’ experience in the business spending much of her career overseas including time as an executive producer and commercial manager for BBC Films (2007-2010) and lecturing at the London International Film School.”
Brett O’Riley has had more than three decades of experience in public and private sector governance.
“In September he steps down as chief executive of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) and was formerly deputy chief executive of the Ministry of Science and Innovation,” Ms Barry says.
“He’s also been a board member of the Manaiakalani Education Trust which delivers world leading e-learning programmes.”
“I want to thank outgoing members Ross McRobie and Chris Hampson for their valuable contribution to the commission,” Ms Barry says.
The Minister for Seniors, Maggie Barry, says a new elder abuse intervention service which starts tomorrow will help keep older New Zealanders safe.
“Elder abuse is a scourge on our society and it’s time for all of us to make it clear, it’s not OK. All seniors deserve to be treated with respect, with dignity and with care, whatever their cultural background or circumstances,” Ms Barry says.
“The serious and growing problem of elder abuse requires a different approach and recent high profile examples of abuse in the media reinforce the need to change the way we intervene and provide practical services to keep seniors safe from elder abuse.”
“Ena Lai Dung weighed just 29kgs and had 15 broken bones when ambulance officers found her body. Her daughter went to prison for 13 years for manslaughter.”
“WW2 veteran Ron Greenhalgh died last year without enough money to pay for his funeral because it was squandered at the TAB by his daughter Carolyn Alleyne. Branded "cold, callous, heartless and cruel" by her brother, Alleyne was sentenced this week to 10 months home detention.”
Ms Barry says from tomorrow new Elder Abuse Response Service (EARS) will put the victims of elder abuse first and focus on practical outcomes.
“The cornerstone of EARS is a free and confidential 24/7 help-line, 0800 32 668 65 (0800 EA NOT OK). Registered nurses will be on the other end of the phone to listen and advise anyone who needs information or support about elder abuse,” Ms Barry says
“We’ve increased funding for these services and have negotiated new contracts with organisations that have been selected specifically based on their ability to deliver an effective intervention service for our vulnerable older people.”
“In addition to longstanding providers like Age Concern receiving a funding increase, 18 new organisations will be involved, including 10 Age Concern branches being funded for the first time.”
There will be a wider geographical spread of service providers to help more at risk elderly people than ever before.
“From tomorrow nationwide education, prevention and awareness work will be run through the Office for Seniors freeing up frontline providers to actively help older people facing different abuse situations,” Ms Barry says.
“With translation services available to the free 24/7helpline, and providers selected to ensure services are culturally responsive, the new service will be able to serve different ethnic groups, including Maori, Pasifika, Indian, Chinese and Korean communities.”
SuperSeniors Champions are adding their voices to help spread the word and encourage people to speak out and ask for advice and help about elder abuse.
“They are a group of influential, articulate advocates for positive ageing. These non-political honorary role models, led by Patron Sir Peter Snell, have made a series of videos which will be on the website www.superseniors.msd.govt.nz,” Ms Barry says.
“Our seniors should be able to trust their families and those close to them but the sad reality is that 79% of older New Zealanders who’re abused are harmed by family members and 43% of victims live with their abusers.”
“Up to 70,000 seniors will experience some form of elder abuse this year – either physical, psychological, sexual, financial or neglectful – and we have to do more to intervene and protect them.”
“The message is clear – elder abuse is not OK. If you see abuse, speak out against it.”
For further information on the changes go to: www.superseniors.msd.govt.nz.
Two historic Wellington buildings are being transferred from DOC into the care of Heritage New Zealand from tomorrow.
Conservation and Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry says Turnbull House and the Old Government Buildings are among 7 sites to be transferred in June or July.
“While these two Wellington buildings currently sit within the DOC portfolio it makes sense for them to be vested with Heritage New Zealand which has long-standing experience in looking after urban buildings of historic interest to New Zealanders,” Ms Barry says.
“The Old Government Building is already tenanted and a popular tourist attraction and Heritage New Zealand will consider options for Turnbull House once it has been earthquake strengthened.”
“The Crown still owns both buildings and in terms of managing them the transfer makes good sense and is part of an overall assessment process by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, DOC and Heritage NZ of where the management of historic sites best fit.”
“Responsibility for the Whangamarino Redoubt Historic Reserve at Mercer; Clifden Suspension Bridge Historic Reserve in Southland; Gabriel Read Memorial Reserve in Central Otago; Springvale Suspension Bridge, east of Taihape; and the Brunner Industrial Historic Reserve site in Greymouth will transfer from Heritage New Zealand to DOC,” Ms Barry says.
“These transfers are pragmatic, straightforward transactions with no money changing hands and people will see little difference in the day to day management of these sites,” Ms Barry says.
Heritage NZ already looks after a number of historic buildings and sites including Wellington’s Old St Paul’s, the Stone Store in Kerikeri, Pompallier House and Printery in Russell and Totara Estate just south of Oamaru.
Old Government BuildingsGovernment Buildings, completed in 1876, is a Category 1 listed building with Heritage New Zealand. It is built entirely of timber, and remains probably the world's largest timber office building. It features include two staircases, eight vaults, 143 rooms, 126 fireplaces, 22 chimneys, two hydraulic lifts, 64 toilets, eight verandas and seven porticos. Government ministers used the building during Parliament's recess until 1921. The Executive Council met in the building until 1948. The government decided to restore the building and work began in 1994 under the management of the Department of Conservation, which became the building's owner. The work cost $25 million and was completed early in 1996. The Law Faculty of Victoria University signed a 50-year tenancy that year.
Turnbull HouseTurnbull House on Bowen Street is a three-storey brick building designed by William Turnbull as a private home for nationally significant collector and bibliophile Alexander Horsburgh Turnbull (1868-1918). It is Category 1 listed with Heritage New Zealand and it has historical, cultural and architectural significance as a rare example of a purpose-built home and library, with a mix of Scottish Baronial, Queen Anne and Medieval architecture. From 1918 the building housed the Alexander Turnbull Library for 55 years, a research library of international standing. Comprehensive restoration was undertaken in 1994 by DOC, including re-roofing and restoring architectural features that had been removed, along with ensuring the building is fire resistant. Deemed earthquake prone by the Wellington City Council in 2009, the building was closed in 2012 pending further strengthening work. Today Turnbull House remains an important part of the Government Centre Historic Area.
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says almost $500,000 extra will be spent on regional projects that target the country’s worst weeds.
“DOC will fund ten regional and district councils to do weed control projects in their communities, especially those that target our annual ‘Dirty Dozen’ weeds – identified as doing the most damage by smothering our natural landscapes and destroying the habitats of our native species,” Ms Barry says.
“The projects focus on weeds such as Old Man’s Beard or Spartina and intensifies efforts to keep them under control or totally eradicate them.”
“Invasive weeds threaten our native animals and plants, destroy our unique landscapes, and impact agriculture and the favourite places we like to visit.”
A key part of the regional programme is to build support and help enable to join the fight in the War on Weeds and know which plants are on this year’s Dirty Dozen list.
“Most weeds are plants in the wrong place and are exotic introduced invaders that have escaped from our gardens to invade our natural areas,” Ms Barry says.
“Councils are well placed to energise local communities to join forces on the War on Weeds because they already have their own weed control programmes and can quickly mobilise their communities into action.”
“This extra investment will accelerate and expand the work they are already doing, and enable a regional approach to managing the weeds on the annual Dirty Dozen list.”
“War on Weeds feeds into the Battle for our Birds programme and Predator Free 2050 which all aim to restore ecosystems and protect our precious natural taonga.”
For more information on the War on Weeds see www.doc.govt.nz/nature/pests-and-threats/war-on-weeds.
Councils receiving funding:Auckland Council $125,000 targeting climbing asparagus, moth plant, woolly nightshade and wild ginger Bay of Plenty $12,700 to remove Spartina Hawke’s Bay Regional council receives $30,000 to tackle old man’s beard and banana passionfruit Gisborne District Council $24,900 to attack moth plant and Japanese honeysuckle. Taranaki Regional council receives $60,000 to control old man’s beard. Horizon’s regional council $100,000 for accelerate work getting rid of old man’s beard, wandering willie, Japanese honeysuckle and banana passionfruit. In Marlborough $20,000 will be used on old man’s beard. The Tasman district Council will use $34,800 to control banana passionfruit, old man’s beard, climbing asparagus, woolly nightshade, buddleia, Japanese honeysuckle, english ivy, wandering willie and periwinkle. Environment Canterbury will use $50,000 surveying and controlling Spartina Southland will spend $29,993 on removing Darwin’s barberry, old man’s beard, buddleia, Japanese honeysuckle, banana passionfruit and wandering willie.
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says a new breeding aviary for the world’s rarest wading bird, the black stilt, is about to be built in the Mackenzie Basin near Twizel.
“DOC’s captive breeding programme is a key component in the bird’s recovery and the department had been working intensively hatching and rearing chicks in aviaries before releasing them in to the wild. A snow storm two years ago destroyed one aviary and seriously damaged another,” Ms Barry says.
“In 1991 there were only 31 black stilt in the wild, now there are 106 but they are so vulnerable to being killed by feral cats, stoats and ferrets that their habitat is limited to a few open braided rivers in the heart of the Southern Alps.”
“The US-based conservation non-profit trust Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) has made a significant contribution to replace the previous 6-bay aviary with a larger 10-bay building so DOC can boost its captive breeding programme.”
“Even with the black stilt’s excellent breeding ability we will still need to protect their natural habitat from predators and it’s why Predator Free 2050, the Battle for our Birds and the War on Weeds are so important to these birds and all our threatened native species,” Ms Barry says.
“DOC wants the black stilt to completely recover from the edge of extinction and along with captive breeding it already runs a trapping programme over 20,000 hectares in the Tasman Valley. Trapping predators has led to 49% of black stilts released in the Tasman surviving to adulthood in the past three years.”
The new aviary will be a cornerstone project for the long term protection of a unique part of New Zealand. Work on the rebuild is expected to begin in a few weeks and be completed by the end of November.
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has thanked the thousands of volunteers who’re part of the Predator Free 2050 movement and help DOC protect our threatened species.
“New Zealanders are among the most generous people in the world when it comes to volunteering and lending a helping hand. More conservation work is being done now than at any time in our history and volunteers are a significant part of conservation success stories,” Ms Barry says.
“There are an ever increasing number of New Zealanders helping with the Battle For Our Birds, War on Weeds and working towards Predator Free 2050 in their local communities, helped by the DOC Community Fund which provides approximately $4.6 million per year for community conservation projects.”
Ms Barry says DOC works in partnership with approximately 900 voluntary community groups.
“DOC has a fundamental ‘working with others’ approach to conservation. Volunteers help us to do more conservation work and in return for their hard work and efforts they are able to step forward, act on the issues that affect them and take ownership of changes they want for themselves and their community.”
“This is National volunteer Week and we should all celebrate those who give their time and effort to help others and I especially want to thank everyone who has worked on conservation and environment projects,” Ms Barry says.
Ms Barry says personal experiences and connections with nature provide powerful benefits for people’s physical and emotional health and wellbeing.
“Connecting with nature has been shown to improve concentration, it buffers us against stress and improves the immune system. It significantly improves mood, enhances wellbeing and provides greater life satisfaction,” Ms Barry says.
“During National Volunteer Week, the Department of Conservation will be celebrating volunteers in several ways including ‘thank you’ afternoon teas and acknowledgements.”
There are:14-15,000 people that volunteer to help DOC with its projects every year. 37,500 volunteer days are contributed from those volunteers. 54% of volunteers participated in tree planting. 43% of volunteers participated in protection or restoration of forest, wetland, marine habitats or species. 34% of volunteers participated in pest control.
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has welcomed two crucial appointments on the road to Predator Free 2050 and the implementation of the New Zealand Threatened Species Strategy.
“Experienced entrepreneur Ed Chignell is Predator Free 2050 Ltd’s new CEO. He has a proven track record as a whole-hearted leader with strong commercial and strategic nous, and the board is confident he has the commitment and the ability to develop the powerful strategic partnerships needed to make Predator Free 2050 a reality,” Ms Barry says.
“Eradicating rats, stoats and possums by 2050 will deliver massive benefits for our native species, our environment and the economy, and the work of the company and its board is crucial to the Predator Free 2050 programme.”
Predator Free 2050 Ltd receives a minimum $6 million of Crown funds annually and will leverage these funds to attract additional investment.
“On average an extra $10m or more will be invested annually into regionally significant landscape predator control and eradication projects, and around $3 million will be invested each year into breakthrough scientific research on eradicating predators,” Ms Barry says.
“The Board first met in January and now has a draft science strategy to develop the technology needed to achieve a predator-free New Zealand. It’s also developing a strategy for managing additional Crown funding for large, landscape-scale collaborative predator control projects.”
The Department of Conservation has also made a significant appointment, with introduction of the new senior role of Deputy Director-General for Biodiversity, whose responsibilities include development and implementation of the Threatened Species Strategy released in May.
“Martin Kessick has had a 17 year career with DOC and has been the Director of National Operations, including leading the Battle for our Birds programme and the development of the operational component of Predator Free 2050,” Ms Barry says.
“Protecting our biodiversity is at the heart of DOC and this new leadership role will focus on that important work. He will develop effective biodiversity protection plans and bring together the work that will deliver PF2050, as well as the recently released Threatened Species Strategy.
“I know he can't wait to get started in the job as a strong advocate for the many different kinds of plants and animals that exist in New Zealand and the work DOC does to protect them.”
Ed Chignell starts as PF 2050 Ltd CEO in August 2017. Martin Kessick starts on 3 July 2017.
For more information on Predator Free 2050, see www.doc.govt.nz/predator-free-2050
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry say the Whangarei Art Museum Trust will receive up to $3 million towards its bespoke project to build a Hundertwasser Art Centre in Whangarei.
This is further to the $4 million the Government contributed towards its construction through the Northland Economic Action Plan.
“The Northland community has worked hard to get this project off the ground and I’m delighted that the Government has been able to provide funding to get this project across the line.
“The Hundertwasser Arts Centre is one of the core actions of the region’s economic plan and will contribute to the local economy by providing employment during construction and for its operation once open. It is estimated that the Hundertwasser Arts Centre will pump $3.5 to $3.7 million into Northland’s economy,” Mr Bridges says.
“As the birthplace of New Zealand, the region is an attractive tourist destination with significant cultural and historical heritage. The Hundertwasser Centre and Wairau Maori Art Gallery will add another quality visitor attraction to Northland’s tourism sector, a key industry of economic growth,” Mr Bridges says.
“The Trust wants to create ‘destination architecture’ - a must see contemporary building - in the heart of Whangarei that will have dedicated exhibition spaces for a rotating collection from the Hundertwasser Foundation in Vienna and the Waiaru Māori Art Gallery,” Ms Barry says.
“These sorts of facilities bring the social benefits of new visitors, business and residents to our smaller cities, such as Whangarei, and other regional towns.
“The funding is to be made available in the form of a time-limited conditional offer from Round Two of the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund (RCHF) – a contestable fund of last resort,” Ms Barry says.
“It follows on from my earlier announcement of a $4 million grant towards the seismic strengthening of the Hawke’s Bay Opera House in Hastings.
“The RCHF was established in 2016 with $29.527 million to be allocated over three years for capital projects benefitting arts, culture and heritage institutions in the regions.”
The Ministers acknowledged the advocacy of Whangarei MP Dr Shane Reti who has worked closely with local and regional leaders, Prosper Northland Trust, and the wider Northland community over several years.
This is the second announcement in Round Two RCHF and more announcements will be made in coming weeks.
Ms Barry says Round One saw six grants totalling $13.878 million awarded to projects throughout New Zealand including seismic strengthening projects at the Sarjeant Gallery in Whanganui ($10m) and the Nelson School of Music’s Public Auditorium ($1.5m).
Further information about the RCHF can be found at: