Councillors tell DOC it is hurting farmers

MATHEW GROCOTT
Last updated 12:00 19/12/2012

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Regional councillors have told the Department of Conservation it should sort its own backyard before sticking its nose into the One Plan.

Damian Coutts and Ben Reddix, the conservators collectively responsible for an area from Taranaki and the Central Plateau down to Wellington and Wairarapa spoke to a Horizons Regional Council meeting yesterday.

While the pair were welcomed by most councillors, some took the opportunity to criticise DOC's record and its Environment Court challenge to the One Plan.

Cr John Barrow said DOC's legal challenge to the One Plan had cost farmers "millions and millions" of dollars in lost revenue.

"You work against farmers, you work against this region," he said.

Mr Coutts said he would not apologise for DOC's advocacy position on the One Plan.

Cr Barrow, along with councillors Murray Guy and Gordon McKellar, pointed out several areas where they thought DOC's management of conservation land was lacking.

"When are you going to start doing work on DOC land rather than telling private owners what to do and putting them out of business?" Cr McKellar said.

Mr Reddix said about a third of New Zealand's land was conservation land and DOC had to prioritise its spending of the money it received from the Government.

"We do not have enough money to manage that [land] to the desired standard, we're constantly making all sorts of prioritisation calls. Some areas simply cannot be resourced for pest management."

Cr Jill White said it was important that Horizons and DOC kept communicating. despite their differences at times.

"Congratulations on how you dealt with some of the comments; there are vested interests around this table."

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- Manawatu Standard

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