Follow the Endangered Species Foundation's journey in setting up a conservation fund for New Zealand's rarest of the rare - critically endangered fauna and flora on the brink of extinction. The future of New Zealand's most vulnerable is uncertain - nearly 4,000 indigenous species are in danger of being lost. We we have a chance to pledge our commitment and support to protect our extraordinary species and unique habitats, now and into the future. We are committed to preserving the rarest of the rare, by funding results orientated conservation projects, with the support of New Zealanders like you.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Meeting The Minister Of Conservation

We've been working on the structure of the conservation fund. One of the important attributes of the fund is that it needs charitable status. There's lots of reasons for this - many people and organisations feel more comfortable giving to such an institution, and there are seriously good tax breaks for those that do donate (they get 33% back, to the limit of annual income - how good is that??!)

So we went to one of the best in the business at starting up charitable trusts. Neil Thorsen, of Thorsen Gempton Consulting, was a key figure in the inital establishment of the Karori Sanctuary (now Zealandia) and the Wellington Region Community Foundation (now Nikau Foundation) as well as managing many large bequests and other trusts.He also happens to be Mike's father, and it was his comment many years ago that "it would be easy to set up a $1 million conservation trust" that was part of the impetus behind the beginning of this conservation foundation. He was enthusiastic about the idea. Very enthusiastic. So enthusiastic that he talked with various business interests about the conservation foundation during his holiday in Nelson!!

So now we have the beginnings of our charitable trust - more about this soon.

If we're serious in our target of $20m it means gaining serious political and financial support. So we went to our local MP, Tony Ryall. His comment that sums it all up was "why hasn't anyone done this before now?". He was also surprised that for some species as little as $500 could make a difference to their security. He was very supportive and we got through a lot in our 15 minute time slot. Tony is now organising for us to meet the Minister of Conservation and the Minister of the Environment to pitch our idea. We also plan on tapping them for some money - but they don't know that yet!

Neil Thorsen (left) discusses with MP Tony Ryall a recent NZ Herald article on New Zeland's 10 most endangered species (click here for article)

No comments:

Post a Comment