General policy statement
This Bill is designed to add World Heritage Sites to Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act 1991.
Currently World Heritage Sites have no formal legal protection within New Zealand. They are designated by UNESCO in consultation with the New Zealand Government. From 2004, the Department of Conservation has been considering new options to designate as World Heritage Sites. However the sites are currently limited to Te Wāhipounamu, Tongariro National Park, and the Subantarctic Islands of New Zealand.
The list of tentative new World Heritage Sites includes—
Kahurangi National Park, Farewell Spit, Waikoropupū Springs, and the Canaan Karst System:
the waters and seabed of the Fiords of Fiordland (Te Moana o Atawhenua) — an addition to Te Wāhipounamu:
Napier Art Deco historic precinct:
Kerikeri Basin historic precinct:
Waitangi Treaty Grounds historic precinct:
Kermadec Islands and marine reserve:
Whakarua Moutere, or the North-East Islands (including the Poor Knights Islands).
If these sites are placed within Schedule 4, this will provide them with protection from mining, which was raised as an issue in early 2012 after it was discovered the Government was surveying for minerals in World Heritage Sites.
New Zealand must nominate potential sites before they will be included on the World Heritage List, so any new additions can be controlled by the New Zealand Government.