Conservation Minister Nick Smith and Environment Minister Amy Adams are welcoming an agreement on the future of the Mackenzie Basin in the South Island but are not committing to it.
The Mackenzie Agreement, unveiled in Twizel today, is signed by 22 local and national organisations, and the ministers say the collaborative approach used to develop it was better than a court battle between diverse groups.
Lobby group Forest & Bird says conservationists, irrigators, dry-stock farmers, sports fishers and hunters have agreed that 100,000 hectares of the basin should be protected but the real test will come when a mechanism to do this is developed.
But Labour's conservation spokeswoman Ruth Dyson says the agreement focuses on freeing up land for development rather than conservation, and creates unnecessary new processes.
"The key proposal of the establishment of a Mackenzie Country Trust is unnecessary. It will require both legislation and funding but its purpose and coverage areas are unclear," Ms Dyson said.
The agreement specifically says the plan will not contain a map of land identified as being of value for conservation.
Ms Dyson says this is of major concern.
The ministers said the agreement was the result of a collaborative process by more than 30 groups and individuals working together to develop options for the future of the basin.
Their ministries will take time to consider the agreement and its recommendations to both central and local government.
source: newshub archive