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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.

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