Focus on tourism and conservation
As a family, we enjoy and appreciate the great outdoors, including some wonderful day trips in our wider region, and we loved tramping the beautiful Heaphy Track over the new year holiday.
We have enjoyed meeting many visitors to our country in the process and observing their sense of wonder at New Zealand’s stunning landscapes, native bush and wildlife, which attract thousands of tourists to our shores each year. This is great news for our economy, but to help sustain this growth we must invest in the conservation areas that make visiting so appealing.
Budget 2017 continues the Government’s commitment to Predator Free 2050 with a range of specific initiatives to protect and restore threatened species, fight kauri dieback, increase predator, pest and weed control and marine protection, as well as respond to tourism growth.
The Government is investing $76 million through the recent Budget in new and upgraded tourism infrastructure for the Department of Conservation (DOC). This funding boost is part of a $178 million tourism infrastructure package.
The new funding will allow DOC to manage the impact of visitor growth better, while also protecting our biodiversity and threatened species.
The DOC estate is a wellknown, much loved asset. With the new funding, DOC will be able to upgrade and develop tourist facilities, as well as expand the Great Walks network.
The Great Walk networks of premier multi-day tracks allow visitors safely to access and enjoy our spectacular and diverse landscapes. It will soon be expanded with two new Great Walks.
We will also develop a network of Great Short Walks and Great Day Walks. This will give people more options to enjoy our beautiful parks and conservation areas.
Developing new locations will ease pressure on tourism hotspots, shift awareness to paths less well travelled, and better share the regional economic benefits of tourism.
We are not only working to enhance the quality of visitor experience for domestic and international visitors, but also to support and protect our captivating natural environment and native species.
In addition to the $76 million, the Government has also announced $21.3m for Battle For Our Birds. The funding will help DOC fight an increase in rat and stoat numbers caused by this year’s beech forest mast.
Battle For Our Birds is part of the government’s ambitious Predator Free 2050 goal to protect our natural treasures for introduced killers.
There is also $2.8m for a sea lion threat management plan, and the first ever Threatened Species Strategy has been released.
DOC is spending more than ever before on natural heritage and recreation work.
HAVE YOUR SAY
Hamilton Press welcomes letters and opinion articles to its Conversations page. Letters must be about 200 words and opinion articles about 400 words. Please send in your contributions by noon, Fridays, to: email@example.com
Hamilton West MP Tim Macindoe.