Beef And Lamb Big Day Out at The Grampians

Out and About
Monday, December 8, 2014

I was delighted to be part of the Beef And Lamb Big Day Out event at The Grampians Station, in the  Mackenzie Basin.

This year marks 100 years of the Hope family owning The Grampians Station which operates in a really remote environment.

The Mackenzie Basin is recognised as an Outstanding Natural Landscape., Visitors enjoy the lakes, the vastness of the landscape, the tussock grasslands, and the dramatic mountains. You get a real sense of the remoteness.

The Mackenzie Agreement was discussed – it is a collaborative process that was commenced in 2011 to address concerns about the future of the Mackenzie Basin.   The Agreement involves 22 national and local organisations, and recognises that the changes occurring the Basin have implications for tourism, farming and economic development, water allocation, and New Zealand’s clean green brand.

I thoroughly support the collaborative process. The National Government firmly believes that conservation and economic development are not at odds with each other – but that they go hand in hand.

The Government welcomed the collective vision set out in the Mackenzie Agreement, and is committed to working with the community to achieve this.

The public conservation estate will have biodiversity protection but, to get the most out of the region’s landscape, further voluntary conservation is desirable.

Resource Management Act controls and pastoral lease rules offer some protection of these values but I am interested in ways to further protect and develop the Basin’s biodiversity.

There are a number of conservation challenges, notably the wilding pines and predators. Control of these will require cooperation across land of all tenures.

Environment Canterbury has a zonal committee working on water planning for the region, and that is likely to address some issues.   I am also interested in tourism developments, notably the Alps to Ocean cycleway.

Enhancing economic income by diversification into tourism will be vital if biodiversity is to be seen as a benefit rather than a cost for landowners.

My role, as Associate Minister of Conservation, is to continue the Government’s work in developing a response to the conservation challenges facing the Mackenzie Basin.

I am committed to continuing to work with community leaders, conservationists, farmers, iwi, ECAN and others to find an enduring solution to these conservation challenges.