< All media statements

West Coast Stewardship Land Reclassification full of errors

23 August 2022

The Environmental Defence Society has filed its submission on the West Coast stewardship land reclassification and says that the recommendations from the Department of Conservation’s specialist panels are “more wrong than right”.

“We have done a deep dive into the correct legal decision-making criteria and have commissioned an independent review of the panels’ recommendations from a very senior ecological consultant”, said EDS COO Shay Schlaepfer.

“The upshot is that of the 504 parcels of land that are being reviewed, insufficient protection has been recommended for 282 land parcels or areas of land parcels, which does not reflect the high conservation values present on the land. The panels’ recommendations are seriously flawed.

“Stewardship land has been in a holding pen for more than 30 years and deciding what its ultimate status should be is incredibly important.

“EDS will be presenting its submission to the panels and will be copying it to the Minister of Conservation, Hon Poto Williams, who makes the final decisions after the panels’ report on the hearing process.

“It is very important that those decisions apply the correct legal test under the current law. We acknowledge that conservation law needs urgent reform and in an ideal world that would happen before reclassification – but that’s not what we have here.

“We have waited 30 years and we really must get this right”, Ms Schlaepfer concluded.

The EDS submission including a detailed spreadsheet is available here.