Mackenzie Basin Drylands announcement welcomed

The five government agencies with statutory environmental responsibilities in the Mackenzie Basin (Environment Canterbury, Waitaki and Mackenzie District Councils, the Department of Conservation and Land Information New Zealand) today welcomed the launch by the Minister of Conservation and Land Information of the Tū Te Rakīwhanoa Dryland Area. 

On behalf of the Mackenzie Basin Agency Alignment Programme, Environment Canterbury Chair Jenny Hughey said the Dryland Area was an exciting development which had been one of the Programme's priorities since it started in 2018.

“Seeing close to another 12,000 hectares of this iconic and precious landscape preserved for everyone to enjoy is another important milestone,” she said. “This builds significantly on the good work all the agencies, particularly DOC and LINZ, have been doing together in the Basin to great effect in areas like pest control.

“It also supports the step change in biodiversity which is high priority for Environment Canterbury, particularly in sensitive environments like the Mackenzie Basin.”

Mackenzie District Council Chief Executive Suzette van Aswegen said it was great to see this initiative coming to fruition. “The Mackenzie Basin is a unique place with wonderful natural attributes of national significance that does not have a voice of its own,” she said.

“Working together collaboratively as partners across many different projects and programmes and doing the right thing to ensure these natural assets are protected in perpetuity while celebrating the multiple and diverse stories grounded in history is the new Mackenzie way. Well done to DOC and partners for achieving this important milestone."

LINZ Chief Executive Gaye Searancke said LINZ was thrilled to support the launch of Tū Te Rakīwhanoa Drylands by contributing about 10,000 hectares through the completion of tenure reviews for Simons Pass and Twin Peaks pastoral leases and transferring management of the Tasman riverbed to DOC.

 “The completion of these tenure reviews is a milestone, which is all the more significant as this newly-acquired conservation land forms a foundation for the Tū Te Rakīwhanoa Drylands,” she said.

 “I’d like to thank the leaseholders for the care they have taken of this land and for agreeing to it becoming conservation land to be protected for generations to come.”

Background

In 2017, the five government agencies with statutory environmental responsibilities in the Mackenzie Basin (Environment Canterbury, Waitaki and Mackenzie District Councils, the Department of Conservation and Land Information New Zealand) came together to form the Mackenzie Basin Agency Alignment Programme.

The programme is the first of its type in New Zealand and acknowledges the agencies’ role to protect the iconic landscape, together with its water quality and biodiversity. 

In 2018, the agencies commissioned consultants HenleyHutchings to report on opportunities for better agency alignment. Since then the focus has been on:

  • Establishing better working relationships, understanding the work each agency is doing, and keeping each other informed of decisions
  • Deepening relationships and the Treaty Partnership with Papatipu Rūnanga as mana whenua of the Waitaki
  • Improving the Resource Management Act planning and consenting processes across the councils to be more joined up. 

Further information

Further information about the Mackenzie Basin Alignment Programme is available at www.mackenziebasin.govt.nz