DOC leader praises Nelson's partnerships

Last updated 13:00 27/11/2013

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The Department of Conservation's Nelson office is nurturing some of New Zealand's healthiest community and business partnerships.

DOC director-general Lou Sanson said the national restructuring process implemented in August was now well underway.

Under the restructure, staff were divided into two major departmental streams - "partnership" and "services".

Mr Sanson is touring DOC's regional offices, and visited Nelson yesterday.

He said nationally, there was a sense that DOC had become too "focused on [its] projects" and neglected its relationships, but the restructure offered it a chance to win back these connections with community groups, businesses, trusts and other potential allies.

He said this description did not match what he had seen in Nelson, saying Nelson had strong partnerships compared to the rest of New Zealand.

"Nelson has a very active community in the conservation base."

Partnerships director for the northwest South Island Jan Hania said the local office's most "high-profile" connections were with the philanthropic New Zealand family trust funding Project Janszoon, and with the businesses based around Abel Tasman National Park.

The Department of Conservation in Nelson also had strong links with the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary, which Mr Sanson described as a "mature and developed" organisation capable of forging commercial partnerships.

Mr Hania said DOC was working with forestry companies to deal with wildling pines in the Richmond Hills and communicating well with the Tasman District Council in connection with the Lee Valley Dam. He cited Friends of Flora and the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust as another two positive connections, saying its relationship with iwi was also good.

He said Project Janszoon was an "anchor project" in the bigger project of a predator-free New Zealand.

"Success there may mean success on a much broader scale."

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