stewart Island
Photo by Asher Wilson-Goldman

Review endorses Walking Access Commission’s outdoor access work

The Walking Access Commission Ara Hīkoi Aotearoa is welcoming the newly published Report on the Findings of the Review of the Walking Access Act 2008. 

The review, which took place this year, looked at the first 10 years of the Walking Access Act and the Walking Access Commission Ara Hīkoi Aotearoa. The review, presented to Parliament today, found that people highly value the work the Commission does. 

Chief Executive Ric Cullinane says he is pleased the report clearly demonstrates resounding public support for the Commission. 

“It is great to get an overwhelming endorsement from people for the important work the Commission does. We are looking forward to the next steps,” says Cullinane. 

The report contains thirty recommendations to improve and strengthen the work the Commission does. Many of the recommendations call for more resourcing to allow to Commission to improve and expand the work it does promoting and enhancing access to the outdoors. 

Cullinane hopes that the review’s recommendations will put the Commission in a better place to deal with the growing pressure of increased visitor numbers to the outdoors.  

“The report praises the Commission’s role as ‘an honest broker’,” says Cullinane. “With more resources and with changes to our governing legislation we can build on those things people most value - such as the Walking Access Mapping System and our project work in regions such as North Waikato, Taranaki and the North of Auckland.” 

“We are also pleased to see the report recommends we improve our partnerships with iwi and recommends additional resourcing to do this. As a Crown entity, we have a responsibility to our Treaty partners, and we know we need to do better.” 

The next stage is for the Ministry for Primary Industries, which is the Ministry responsible for monitoring the Commission, to carry out a formal policy process, including public consultation. In 2020 it will share more information about this next stage on its website 

Report on the Findings of the Review of the Walking Access Act 2008