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A Recreation Division of DOC Proposed

MEDIA RELEASE Outdoor Recreation NZ
2 October July 2006

A Recreation Division of DOC Proposed

"Outdoor Recreation NZ has identified a strong disquiet among the various recreation organizations that participated in the recent Department of Conservation 'Recreation Summit' in Wellington (Sept 16/17)" said Peter Vahry the Access spokesman for ORNZ.

"Some days after the meeting noted recreational advocate Dr Hugh Barr observed that 'the recreational summit was totally ignored by the media, which could point to the Department of Conservation suggesting the meeting was unimportant'.

"The fact is, Outdoor recreations are a core part of what's shaped the New Zealand character but have been largely ignored by successive governments and the Department of Conservation who administer much of New Zealand’s public lands.

"It's been clearly identified that the increasingly risk adverse philosophies being advocated in society are limiting opportunities for young people, by discouraging those who would otherwise promote and organize adventurous activities. Meanwhile the extreme environmental protection ethos is restricting access for our aging population by limiting vehicle use in a lot of areas, even where there may be existing routes.

"Without a major shift in ideology, the Department of Conservation is not capable of addressing recreational matters. The other public agency for recreation, SPARC, has gone in the other direction with a prime focus on elite sport funding!

"Outdoor Recreation NZ wants to see a parallel body, possibly within the Department of Conservation, to handle recreation needs, along with a statutory NZ Outdoor Recreation Authority who would create outdoor recreation “General Policy” to guide future direction. An annual spring-time “Outdoor Recreation Week” would highlight the opportunities and promote activities.

"For too long outdoor recreation has been ignored in favor of extremist conservation ideals. Instead they should be integrated to encourage use of the outdoor environment with a sense of ownership and pride that a healthy sustainable environment can provide.

"It is “ownership”that encourages conservation", said Mr. Vahry.

ENDS

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