Government underfunding of DoC has led to suspension bridges, viewing platforms, and other structures on our Great Walks becoming either unsafe or in serious need of repair, the Green Party says.
Answers to written questions provided by the Minister of Conservation show that tracks, huts and other structures on some of New Zealand’s most important Great Walks are in a state of disrepair, as the department struggles with funding cuts under the National Government.
“It’s a sign of the National Government’s utter disregard for New Zealand’s wildlife and the natural places we love, that DoC’s facilities are falling into disrepair,” Green Party conservation spokesperson Kevin Hague said.
“People visit our wild and beautiful places to be inspired by them, not to have their wellbeing threatened by unsafe bridges or viewing platforms,” Mr Hague said.
The Green Party revealed on the weekend that more than 140 species had quietly slipped closer to extinction under National’s watch, with most not covered by a management plan to protect them.
“The National Government’s approach to conservation has been to grandstand as much as possible, while doing as little as it can get away with,” Mr Hague said.
“Our natural environment is the centre of our economy and who we are as a nation. We can’t afford to let National ruin it, in order to save a few bucks.
“National’s spending on conservation has been on average $55 million less per year in real terms than the last Labour Government. Cumulatively, that’s $336 million that DOC has missed out on since John Key moved into the Beehive,” Mr Hague said.
- The answers to Parliamentary questions show that 1085 DOC structures do not meet the required service standard, and almost half of all tracks were not up to scratch.
- In all, 38 structures had serious work tasks outstanding, 85 fail the barrier assessment, 168 fail the load capacity assessment, and another 85 are closed.
- Suspension bridges, and viewing platforms were among those that either didn’t meet capacity load, barrier, or another safety standards.
Links to the published QWA answers: