It has been another busy month. Here is the latest news on FMC advocacy and significant developments of importance to trampers, climbers and all interested in safe outdoor recreation.
Threat of Mining in National Parks & other Conservation Lands
As a result of our opposition to the proposals that could open up conservation lands and national parks to mining FMC has been interviewed by the media. We have also undertaken a letter campaign to various print media (The Otago Daily Times, The Independent, Listener and The Dominion Post). The November 2009 FMC Bulletin will focus extensively on the case against the National Government’s review. FMC urges all members to register their opposition to this political opportunism by the Minster of Energy and Resources. Mr. Brownlee is actively campaigning for changes to assist the private sector in plundering NZ’s internationally renowned national parks; threatening the very cornerstone of our tourism and outdoor recreation opportunities. Our park network has been developed over a period of 130 years and is the proud birthright of all New Zealanders. You can support the campaign. Email a photo of your favourite national park, or other part of the conservation estate, to the Prime Minister at with an explanation of why you don’t want it mined. Alternatively, mail a photo-print and write on the back like a postcard (Prime Minister, Freepost, Parliament). For other updates and to join a petition against mining on conservation lands, please consult: http://www.fmc.org.nz/advocacy/mining/. Other FMC initiatives are also in the pipeline. Your ideas are always welcome!
FMC Submits to the Ministerial Review of Milford Aircraft Management
South Island Vice President, David Barnes, presented FMC’s case to the Associate Minister of Conservation, Kate Wilkinson, in Dunedin recently. A full copy of the submission can be inspected on our website, but key points made were:
• Milford aircraft management provisions in the current Fiordland National Park Management Plan should be endorsed and confirmed.
• The current allocation system was arrived at by way of extensive consultation approved by all relevant authorities including the NZ Conservation Authority. The process was also vindicated by a judicial review.
• The existing baseline figure for aircraft landings has a rational basis and adopts a precautionary approach.
• Without monitoring, increasing allowable landings will be based solely on commercial greed rather than managing adverse environmental and social impacts.
• The current allocation system had the support of aircraft operators – until it delivered commercially adverse outcomes to some of them.
• Although there is some evidence that the allocation system had some internal flaws, no evidence has been produced that justifies an increase in the total landings.
• If the commercial aircraft operators’ challenge is allowed, it opens up the whole National Park Management Plan to challenge from other disgruntled user groups. FMC believes that this position would be politically irresponsible and managerially untenable.
Wild Rivers Campaign Ready to Launch
FMC is supporting a “Day on a Wild River” event on the weekend of 28-29 November 2009. Conservationists, trampers and other outdoor enthusiasts will gather at a number of wild river sites around the country to celebrate wild river values. We hope the media and members of the general public will come too. Please contact your local Forest and Bird branch or email to get your tramping club linked in to events in your area. The joint Wild Rivers Campaign (http://www.wildrivers.org.nz) will be officially launched very soon. Additional information can also be found on FMC’s website too: http://www.fmc.org.nz/advocacy/rivers. In other river news: we’re still waiting on Mokihinui decisions; the Hurunui dam consents have been postponed for a year; and a run of river hydro scheme has been approved for the Matiri River, at the southern entrance to Kahurangi National Park.
Planning in Final Stages for Northern Recreational Opportunity Forum
Executive members Brian Stephenson, Viv Milne and Jane Dudley are in the final phase of organization for the upcoming Recreational Opportunities Forum. If you have not yet registered your interest, you will need to do so promptly! The half-day event will be held in Auckland on the morning of Saturday 31 October 2009. The Forum will discuss proposals for outdoor recreation in the northern regions of the North Island. In addition to FMC and the public, representatives from tramping clubs, DoC and regional councils will be in attendance. Those interested in attending should email – Details of the venue and start time will be sent to registrants shortly.
Walking Access Commission Strategy Launched – Feedback Please!
The Walking Access Commission has distributed its Draft Walking Access Code and Walking th Access Strategy for public comment by 19 December 2009. Your Federation has been actively involved in the development of these, and encourages clubs and individuals to carefully consider the proposals. Please let us know if you have any ideas of how they can be improved. Copies of the documents are available on request. E-mail inquiries about the documents should be directed to the commission via: .
Welcome Discussions with Ngai Tuhoe on Te Urewera National Park’s Management
FMC engaged with members of Ngai Tuhoe in recent discussions about future options for management of Te Urewera National Park. The Federation looks forward to continuing these discussions with the objective of achieving productive outcomes for key recreational groups that use this area of the North Island.
Conservation Board Appointments
We congratulate two long-standing FMC Executive members (Robin McNeill and David Round) on their appointments to Conservation Boards. The Boards advise the Department of Conservation on policy developments and advocate for recreation and conservation. Robin has been reappointed for a third term to the Southland Conservation Board and David has been appointed to the Canterbury Conservation Board. In addition, Brian Stephenson remains as an FMC representative on the New Zealand Conservation Authority. Their extensive knowledge of outdoor recreation matters provides valuable contributions towards managing our backcountry.
FMC Representative on Mountain Safety Council
We are pleased to announce that Phil Glasson has been appointed as the new FMC representative on the Mountain Safety Council at their AGM held in September.
The changes that were proposed to the constitution (see September FMC Newsletter) were adopted at the Land SAR AGM on 26 September 2009. FMC looks forward to continuing to work with Land SAR under the new constitution.
Draft Bay of Plenty Conservation Management Strategy (CMS) withdrawn from NZCA Consideration
Due to an internal review of DoC’s management and conservancy boundaries in the upper
North Island, the Bay of Plenty conservancy has been disestablished and a new Bay of Plenty – East Coast Conservancy has replaced it. As a result of these changes, the draft Conservation Strategy (CMS) that FMC submitted on extensively last year, has been withdrawn from consideration by the New Zealand Conservation Authority. The current CMS will remain in place until new guidelines can be established, most likely after 2012. FMC understands that more comprehensive guidelines for Departmental CMSs are being developed following submissions from FMC and other user groups last year.