The announcement by Conservation Minister Tim Groser that his department is undertaking a range of projects with private businesses is a long-awaited and sensible step.

Partnering with the private sector to build and operate a new visitor centre on the West Coast; the development of new recreation opportunities on conservation land in the Kaimai Range; and working with local iwi to develop opportunities on the new Central North Island Rail Trail cycleway are all common sense.

There are a vast number of ideas in the private sector involving conservation land and projects which could benefit from this approach and would not compromise the conservation values or cost the taxpayers more money.

It’s the beginning of a new era for conservation and partnership.