Former chair of conservation board ‘vindicated’ by court docket resolution

Paparoa National Park.

2021-06-04 10:00:35

The previous chairman of the West Coast Conservation Board is feeling vindicated after a Excessive Courtroom resolution that the Division of Conservation can’t permit leisure helicopter flights into Paparoa Nationwide Park.

Paparoa National Park.

Paparoa Nationwide Park.
Picture: 123RF / Patrik Stedrak

Keith Morfett resigned as chairman final December after ongoing objections to his function from the board’s Ngāi Tahu members.

The court docket has upheld the view of Forest & Hen and Federated Mountain Golf equipment that DOC can’t present for leisure flights in its park administration plan as a result of they’re prohibited in its West Coast conservation administration technique (CMS).

“This ruling affirms Paparoa as a ‘quiet’ nationwide park and it is among the best issues to occur for recreation and conservation on the Coast in 10 years,” Morfett stated.

DOC’s administration plan for Paparoa was rushed via within the wake of the Pike River mine catastrophe and ignored the CMS, which had a better standing, he stated.

“If there’s one little bit of energy the conservation board has, it is having some management over what goes on in our nationwide parks and people administration plans and I identified repeatedly that permitting industrial flights into Paparoa was completely at odds with the CMS.”

His objections had put him offside with Ngāi Tahu, who had performed a serious function in drafting the plan, Morfett stated.

DOC employees had been eager to permit the leisure flights and landings to assist elevated customer use of the Paparoa Observe, constructed as a memorial to those that died within the Pike River mine. It had needed to make a non-notified modification to the CMS to get across the no-landing rule – pleading ‘extraordinary circumstances’ – however that was rejected by the NZ Conservation Authority.

“DOC employees tried to promote that at a gathering with the NZCA in Reefton however they weren’t shopping for it – you may’t assessment the coverage doc with the precise purpose of adjusting one rule in a park administration plan. It is a prolonged course of and the general public must be concerned.”

Disappointingly, the NZ Conservation Authority had nonetheless signed off on the park plan, Morfett stated.

“I do not know why or how that occurred… though the federal government on the time was very eager on opening up nationwide parks to industrial ventures, and there was a number of strain after Pike [River].”

When the CMS had been drawn up within the early 2000s, the then conservation board had thought-about the options of all nationwide parks on the West Coast in addition to neighborhood wants, he stated.

“They recognised there needed to be flexibility for helicopter noise down at Franz Josef, as an example. However they particularly determined that Paparoa could be a quiet park.”

The CMS was presupposed to be a ‘residing doc’, adjusted each few years as circumstances modified, however DOC had failed to try this and had been caught out, Morfett stated.

“Mainly they simply threw the CMS in a cabinet and forgot about it.”

DOC was invited to remark however had not completed so by version time.

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