The amendments are necessary to allow for a wider range of commercial activities, including aircraft landings, to take place in the Park and specifically on the Paparoa Track when it opens in December. Recreational use of mountain bikes will be allowed on the track without the amendments.
The Department will also recommend to the New Zealand Conservation Authority (NZCA) that the provisions in the Paparoa National Park Management Plan (the Plan) that allow recreational aircraft landings in Paparoa National Park (the Park) are quashed.
Marie Long, DOC Director for Planning, Permissions and Land says the decision was made after stakeholders raised concerns that the correct legal process was not being followed.
The CMS provides the overall direction for managing and integrating conservation and recreation values on and off public conservation lands on the West Coast. National park management plans are then written to align with the CMS.
“The process DOC has run would have seen amendments made to make the CMS consistent with the Plan instead of the other way round,” Marie Long says.
“We were confident that the process to change the CMS after the Plan was approved was workable, but a closer legal inspection has revealed the CMS must be reviewed first to allow for activities before these activities can be written into the Plan.”
DOC was proceeding this way after the review of the Plan was fast-tracked under exceptional circumstances in 2016 to allow for the Paparoa Track to be built, in honour of the 29 miners who died in the Pike River Mine disaster.
Public submissions on the amendments closed on 20 of May, and just over 1700 submissions were received.
DOC will develop a process to partially review the CMS alongside the stakeholders concerned. Submissions received to date on the CMS amendments will be considered within any future processes developed.