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Funding doubled for outdoor recreation facilities

Budget 2002 contains the largest increase in funding for outdoor recreation on public conservation land ever agreed to by any government.

Conservation Minister Sandra Lee said the $349 million increase over ten years [$265 million on the capital budget, $84 million on the operating budget] would effectively double the Department of Conservation’s funding for the maintenance of huts, tracks and other facilities.

The money will go to:
* increase DOC’s annual operating budget for recreational facilities (including maintenance) in stages until 2012 when it reaches an additional $24 million a year.
* provide an average of $21.2 million a year for annual depreciation (to replace facilities), starting in 2002-03. The Department will receive $3 million cash for replacement in 2002-03, rising to almost $25 million in 2007-08.
* begin paying depreciation, accumulated since DOC’s creation, from 2007-08 at a rate of $18 million a year for 15 years, a total of $270 million.

"Many huts are now reaching the end of their useful lives. Past governments often deferred maintenance as a cost-saving measure while other factors, such as more rigorous building standards for the backcountry, have also impacted on costs.

“This government is the first to have taken a long hard look at the long term sustainability of recreational facilities. We have rejected drastic cuts and instead put in place a funding package that allows DOC to more effectively manage the present network,” Ms Lee said.

"Since the Labour-Alliance coalition took office in 1999, it has been enhancing access to the backcountry – from the creation of Rakiura National Park to the protection of Crown-managed West Coast native forests.

“Budget 2002 continues and consolidates that record. But not all huts and tracks can be maintained over the longer term, even with a very substantial boost in funding.

“I have invited key stakeholders to work in partnership with DOC in a review of all outdoor facilities, particularly tracks. I also want them to work closely together on the question of what facilities will be maintained in the long term," Ms Lee said.

Year Additional Operating Additional Replacement Total Additional Funding
2002/2003 0 3 3
2003/2004 0 6 6
2004/2005 0 10 10
2005/2006 3 14 17
2006/2007 6 18 24
2007/2008 9 42.867 51.867
2008/2009 12 42.867 54.867
2009/2010 15 42.867 57.867
2010/2011 18 42.867 60.867
2011/2012 21 42.867 63.867
Totals 84 265.335 349.335


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