You wouldn’t be surprised to discover it costs more to conserve Maori-owned land

New Zealand First wants to know why the $7.9m Nga Whenua Rahui scheme for Maori Land has only protected 87 hectares in the year to 20 March.

“In the past three years, the Minister of Conservation has frittered away up to $17.6m of precious Conservation dollars and all she has to show for it is 956.4 hectares and poppycock like: “owners retaining tino rangatiratanga. In its kaupapa and role Nga Whenua Rahui is reaffirming the bond between tangata whenua and the land,” says New Zealand First Leader and Member of Parliament for Northland, Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“Budget 2016 actually increased Nga Whenua Rahui funding to $7.9m and it’s only protected 87 hectares so far this year – an area not much larger than Auckland’s Botanic Gardens.

“This race-based largesse cost taxpayers $7,389 a hectare in 2014/15 but rose to $30,633 in 2015/16. The current budget means each hectare of Nga Whenua Rahui land, which DoC is taking from more worthy programmes, is costing taxpayers an eye watering $92,000.

“In complete contrast is the QEII National Trust. Over the same timeframe it has protected 60,779 hectares or an area larger than Abel Tasman and Egmont National Parks combined.

“While it includes a large covenant several years ago, it does a whole lot more for a whole lost less. The QEII National Trust has protected over 2,600 hectares this year versus Nga Whenua Rahui’s pathetic 87 hectares and for a little over half of that scheme’s cost.

“For heaven’s sake protecting biodiversity is a colour blind thing. National needs to stop frittering away precious Conservation dollars on ‘broacracy’ like Nga Whenua Rahui and put it into programmes that do work,” says Mr Peters

 


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