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Protect New Zealand’s National Parks

New Zealand has a long history of protecting our significant landscapes, native plants and animals in national parks. So it’s disappointing when attempts are made to erode those basic principles of protection.

There are two draft park plans currently putting these principles at risk. The Aoraki / Mount Cook draft plan includes some good points, such as new park additions and a park and ride system, but seeks wrongly to ‘balance’ development against protection. You can submit here.

In Westland, the draft plan prioritises development, with a proposed amenity area for a gondola, increased helicopter landings, and tracks open to dogs within the national park. To help you submit, we’ve made the quick and easy form below.

In particular, the plan contains two terrible ideas. One involves allowing dogs into the park, a move we think would not only be illegal, but also risks kiwi, low-nesting kea or other birds that may be in the area.

The other is an ‘amenity area’ for a future gondola development up the side of Franz Josef Glacier/ Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere. This amenity area would mean that national park values only apply if they don’t get in the way of development, in a practical sense removing this area from the National Park. This is unprecedented in New Zealand.

In addition, while the park plan provides for controlling pest plants and animals, the actual milestones suggested set a very low bar – seeking eradication of goats alone from the park, and focusing only on new pest incursions. We believe the plan needs to do more.

Please help us protect this special place by making a quick submission.

This is an individual submission.

Thank you for the opportunity to make a submission on the draft Westland Tai Poutini National Park Management Plan.

I do not support allowing dog walking on four tracks within the National Park, as stated in Policy 3.2.3 4. This breaches the National Parks Act, endangers wildlife, and could set a dangerous precedent for the rest of the country.

I do not support a gazetted amenities area within the National Park, because:

  • an amenities area would in essence remove this habitat from the National Park, and allow unknown future development
  • it would involve unspecified destruction of native plants and animals, from lowland forest right through to alpine vegetation
  • the ecological values that would be lost have not been quantified
  • creating an amenities area for new and unspecified activities is unprecedented within New Zealand

While I support the plan’s objective of controlling pest plants and animals, the milestones fall short of providing for this objective. The plan should, as required by law, implement programmes aimed at eradicating all introduced animals from Westland Tai Poutini National Park. This should include monitoring that provides evidence of reduction of animal pests such as pigs, deer, chamois, and thar, as well as goats. 

Privacy Statement
As part of a public consultation process on the draft Westland Tai Poutini National Park Management Plan, your submission will be sent to the Department of Conservation. Submissions are publicly released and published on the Department website (with the submitter’s name only - your contact details will not be published). Forest & Bird will not disclose your information to any other third party.

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