A response to a request for more information on the changes
made to Otago's conservation management strategy has been
labelled as ''absolutely unacceptable'' by Otago Conservation
Board member Susan Stevens.
The board developed the initial strategy - a plan for how the
places, native plants and animals Doc is responsible for will
be managed - which was then revamped by the Department of
Conservation before going out for consultation last year.
Former board members criticised the consultation draft as
reflecting little of what the board had written in
consultation with others and for having been standardised and
Remaining board members also questioned the reasoning behind
some of the changes, writing to Doc last year with a list of
That letter was compiled in the non-public section of the
meeting and a request by the Otago Daily Times for a
copy of the letter was turned down; legal reasons being cited
as the reason for the refusal.
Doc's planning manager David Newey's reply was tabled at the
board's recent meeting in Clyde.
It said Doc could not respond to the board's request because
it was still analysing the ''many thousands of submission
points'' raised during the consultation process and
developing policy responses.
Ms Stevens said the board was not asking for new information
but wanted an explanation of the decisions made by Mr Newey's
team, such as on what grounds the decisions were made.
''We just want to understand what's there better because
we're confused about some things.''
Board chairman Gordon Bailey said after the meeting the board
had raised the questions because of the changes made to the
document from the one it developed and as the board was
required to sign off on the final document before it went to
the Conservation Authority.
While the board had not received answers, it was pleasing Doc
had offered to hold workshops with boards so planners could
explain issues, he said.
''To keep us in the loop is a positive way forward.''
Mr Newey said given the quality and quantity of submissions
the department would not be able to meet the Conservation Act
timelines for releasing the strategy.
It had been anticipated the revised draft strategy would go
to the board in March but it was ''now looking like early