DOC is required to promote the conservation of natural and historic resources, both on and off conservation land, and to promote these benefits to present and future generations.
While DOC manages approximately one third of mainland New Zealand, about 7 million ha, the majority of this land is steep, inaccessible, mountainous and climatically harsh. Conservation land is therefore poorly representative of a number of important ecosystems such as wetlands or lowlands, and does not protect a range of important landscape and heritage values. DOC therefore has an important role in encouraging the protection of these natural and historic values on private land.
One of the most important ways to achieve protection of the natural and historic values on private land is through statutory planning processes. Under the Resource Management Act 1991 these processes are administered by regional and territorial local authorities. For example, they must prepare regional policy statements and regional and district plans. At a regional level, plans may be prepared to address a range of broad or specific issues, such as waste or freshwater management, natural hazards or heritage management.