17 Jun 2010

Minister questioned over conservation role

12:25 pm on 17 June 2010

Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson has been questioned by opposition MPs about her role as an advocate for conservation land.

The minister appeared before the Local Government and Environment Select Committee on Thursday and faced questions about mining on Department of Conservation land and DoC's priorities.

The Government is currently reviewing whether to open 7000 hectares of high value conservation land for mining, following public consultation.

Ms Wilkinson was asked by Labour MP George Hawkins whether she had visited Great Barrier Island and Coromandel sites, which could lose their Schedule 4 protection from mining.

She replied she had visited Coromandel while a minister.

Green MP Kevin Hague, wanted to hear Ms Wilkinson's view on why DoC's statement of intent has little mention of conserving biodiversity.

But Ms Wilkinson said a lot of DoC's budget is spent on biodiversity and land protection.