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Building rule changes reduce red tape for huts

Steve Chadwick

31 October, 2008
Building rule changes reduce red tape for huts

New rules making it easier to build backcountry huts take effect today, Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick and Building and Construction Minister Shane Jones announced today.

"The changes, the latest in a series aimed at reducing red tape, means some unnecessary building rules will no longer apply when building or replacing Department of Conservation (DOC) backcountry huts," Steve Chadwick said.

"Many huts will be coming up for replacement in the next few decades. The simplified building requirements will ensure that DOC is able to undertake this task without undue costs and difficulties."

The new rules mean huts will no longer need to have:

* smoke alarms and emergency lighting (because the huts are small and have other provisions for fire protection),
* access and sanitary facilities for wheelchair users, where huts are in a genuinely inaccessible locations,
* potable (drinkable) water supply and artificial lighting.

DOC manages more than 940 backcountry huts in remote and inaccessible locations across the country.

"Located in some of New Zealand's most remote locations, the backcountry huts offer basic accommodation for trampers and hunters," Steve Chadwick said.

"They have been a welcome sight for generations of people who have spent the day walking or hunting in mountainous regions in often tough conditions."

"Backcountry huts are a cherished part of our Kiwi heritage. They allow people a great opportunity to temporarily ‘get away from it all' and to test their powers of endurance and self-reliance," said Shane Jones.

"I am pleased we have been able to work with the Department of Conservation to amend the rules. I believe we now have more pragmatic, common-sense regulations that will make building new huts easier."


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