Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Growing the conservation estate

A decade ago, the public fought a battle with Meridian Energy over the Mokihinui hydro scheme - a plan to build a dam on conservation land, flooding a scenic river gorge. Now the area has been protected forever by adding it to Kahurangi National park:

A wild and remote river gorge that was nearly dammed for power generation will be part of the largest piece of land ever added to an existing national park.

Nearly 65,000 hectares of land north of Westport will become part of the Kahurangi National Park, expanding the country's second largest national park by 14 per cent, the Government announced on Wednesday.

The added area is slightly larger than Christchurch and about half the size of Auckland.

Its the largest addition to a national park ever, and a huge victory for conservation. But its worth remembering that DoC still controls approximately 2.5 million hectares of unprotected stewardship land, which still needs to be assessed and then assigned protected status according to its value. Hopefully this is jut the first step in that process.