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Farewell to a big year
~ By Ric Cullinane, Chief Executive
All the very best to you and yours over Christmas and New Year. Hopefully, you get time and space to share with your friends and family.
2018 was a busy year for the Walking Access Commission. Our staff has grown significantly, we have many new people and many people in new roles. We also have new assets, new office space, and new IT systems. And that has meant that we have been able to do a lot more work than in the past, and different types of work.
We have run several large projects that do more than create access for individual tracks. They create a vision connecting people together across an entire region. Our work this year in Taranaki, the South Island High Country, and Northern Waikato is new for us because it creates inspirational plans and strategies for the tracks and trails networks New Zealanders want in our local communities. It involves lots of listening, talking and strategising.
It is worth it because good tracks and trails networks make a difference to people’s wellbeing. They improve mental and physical health. They create safe and low-carbon transport connections, regional economic development, and protect the environment.
So it is timely, as we start on this new work, that the Ministry for Primary Industries is undertaking a statutory review of the legislation that governs us. This is an opportunity for everyone who is interested in access to the outdoors to say what type of work we should be doing and how. Make sure you engage with the consultation process early next year.
In the meantime, enjoy your summer. For many of us the summer weeks during Christmas and New Year are an opportunity to make the most of our country. If you are one of those people, then check out our new website, Find My Adventure. It includes hundreds of tracks and trails to explore around the country. Also, take the time to thank the land managers and track builders who are doing their bit to share our country.
Ngā mihi o te Kirihimete me te Tau Hou - Season’s greetings for Christmas and the New Year.