Call for collective conservation effort

A national organisation representing the many community conservation trusts around the country is needed, Conservation Minister Nick Smith says.

As the Department of Conservation was developing a new partnership approach and working out better ways to link with the community, having one organisation for it to work with would be ''really valuable'', Dr Smith said at the recent Conservation Inc conference in Dunedin.

The number of conservation trusts had inreased greatly in recent years and they were doing ''fantastic work'', he said.

A national organisation would allow trusts to network as well as work on a national level with the Government, Dr Smith said.

''My challenge to conservation trusts is: can we formalise a bit more the interaction and engagement between them and the department to make it work better?''

The Maketu Ongatoro Wetland Society's Julian Fitter said he had been going to raise the concept of a national organisation at the recent conference before Dr Smith made his comments.

A group with the title ''Conservation Alliance'' had been set up and a steering group formed to decide upon a direction.

About 40 parties, including 24 non-governmental agencies, had signed up to the group's mailing list and would be consulted about the main thrust of the organisation, he said.

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