Maintaining the ability to give ''frank and independent''
advice as well as work in partnership with the Department of
Conservation will be a challenge for Otago's new conservation
board, department partnerships manager Barry Hanson says.
He was speaking at the first public meeting of the newly
formed Otago Conservation Board in Dunedin yesterday.
The nine-member board is the link between the community and
the Department of Conservation and will advise on the
region's strategic direction.
After a government review last year of the boards' role, they
now had a greater focus on promoting recreation opportunities
and tourism on conservation land, and enhancing relationships
with iwi, Mr Hanson said.
While the board had traditionally focused on decision-making
and policy, it also now had a role in developing
partnerships, he said.
The department itself was working hard on developing its
partnership approach to help it achieve its goal of
''flatlining'' decreases in biodiversity and recovery of
''There is only one third of the resource in Vote
Conservation [Doc's budget] to do that work.''
The board and department needed to build a new ''construct''
on how they related together without the relationship
deteriorating as it sometimes had in the past.
''It's going to be an interesting challenge. It is new
Part of the new role for boards was their involvement in
providing funding advice for the Community Conservation
Partnership Fund. Results of that process would not be known
Mr Hanson also aimed to have regular meetings between himself
and the board chairmen from Otago, Southland and Canterbury
to discuss issues in common and share knowledge such as that
gained from Otago's unique scientific advisory board.
''My goal is to form much stronger regional contacts. Working
regionally is a big opportunity for us.''
Board chairman Pat Garden said he wanted to reassure the
department the board was ''absolutely committed'' to the
''That is the exciting part.''
The New Zealand Conservation Board has appointed Dunedin's
David Barnes, its Federated Mountain Clubs representative, as
its representative on the Otago Conservation Board.