Mackenzie Basin & Landscape Protection

Mackenzie Basin & Landscape Protection

By Raewyn Peart and Cordelia Woodhouse

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Mackenzie Basin is the only place in New Zealand where the entire intact glacial sequence from existing glaciers in the Southern Alps, through to moraines, outwash terraces and plains can be seen. There have been considerable pressures on these landscapes over a long period of time including from pastoral farming, rabbits, hydro power generation, wildling pines, irrigation and dairy conversions. The Basin is fast approaching a tipping point, where the remaining outstanding natural and cultural landscape values could be lost.

Many of the current pressures on the Mackenzie Basin stem from historical events and the unintended consequences of successive government policy settings.  Although the current regulatory framework could have protected landscape values in the Basin, it has failed, through want of quality and joined-up policy implementation and effective oversight of agency performance.

There are a number of positive initiatives underway in the Basin to help address this situation, and political will to turn things around. Our recommendations specify how current tools could be better deployed to provide the landscape protection that is sorely needed. We have also proposed a new model for landscape protection that we consider is needed to ensure that the Mackenzie Basin’s unique and extraordinary natural and cultural landscapes are cherished and protected for future generations.

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