Two new Great Walks are part of a Government pledge to pour $178m into tourism infrastructure and the conservation estate.
Tourism Minister Paula Bennett and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry jointly announced the establishment of a $102m tourism infrastructure fund, alongside an extra $76m for the Department of Conservation (DOC).
Barry said it had not yet been decided where the two new Great Walks would go.
“We’re going to do a really good job to ensure they’re in the right place, there’s a lot of conversations to be had yet …then we have to do a business plan”.
I suspect one will be in the Coromandel.
I’ve done seven of the nine existing Great Walks and was looking forward to completing them once Ben is a bit older. But the Government seems to be creating new ones faster than I can walk them, so not sure when I will get to finish all 12 of them.
Forest & Bird’s advocacy manager Kevin Hackwell is less impressed and raised concerns the new walks would lead to price increases for New Zealanders who would compete with tourists for access.
“Of particular concern is the idea to work with private partners to co-fund these Great Walks”.
“This is a significant step towards privatising the conservation estate. Essentially, it’s the unpopular charter school model, brought to conservation”, said Hackwell.
Oh what absolute nonsense. It’s called sponsorship. Air New Zealand is already a major sponsor. They don’t own the Great Walks, they just help fund them.
Such a shame to see organisations that used to be devoted purely to conversation become just another left wing activist group.