A proposal to allow dogs in Westland Tai Poutini National Park breaches the National Parks Act and puts endangered kiwi at risk, says Forest & Bird.
Draft Westland Tai Poutini National Park and Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park Management Plans were both released for public consultation over the weekend.
The draft Westland plan includes a proposal to open several walking tracks within the National Park up to dog owners. Some of the tracks are within an area where kiwi may be present.
“We think this proposal is unlawful. The National Parks Act prohibits dogs in National Parks except for very limited purposes, such as guide dogs. There are good reasons for this as dogs pose a significant threat to wildlife, particularly kiwi,” says Nicky Snoyink, Forest & Bird’s Canterbury West Coast Regional Manager.
“The plan can’t override the legislation and authorise what the Act says is illegal.”
The draft plan also includes a controversial 460 hectare amenity area, aimed at allowing future development of a gondola up the side of Franz Josef Glacier/ Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere.
“This essentially removes a huge swathe of native species habitat from the national park, for any number of developments we’re yet to be given any specifics on. The plan doesn’t tell the public what they are agreeing to, or the ecological values that could be lost,” says Ms Snoyink.
“We’ll be encouraging the public to submit against allowing such an erosion of our national park network.”
“Part of Te Wahi Pounamu UNESCO World Heritage Area, Aoraki / Mt Cook and Westland Tai Poutini National Parks are treasure troves which provide a home for an incredible diversity of native species, many found nowhere else on the planet. Their preservation is of global importance.”