Our trail network and the Living Standards Framework
The Finance Minister and Treasury have developed the Government’s new Living Standards Framework. This framework measures the value of things not just by their contribution to gross domestic product but by four capitals; human, social, natural, and financial/physical capitals.
Tracks and trails link to all four of these capitals that Treasury will use to measure wellbeing.
Tracks and trails support and protect our natural capital, by connecting people with our environment and helping us to protect it. They grow our human capital, by providing recreation opportunities with public health benefits (both for our mental and physical health). They grow our social capital, by connecting communities and the people who live in them with each other. And they grow our physical capital, by developing enduring assets – a network of transport options across the country.
We’re confident that when Treasury and others look at the work of the Commission through the lens of the Living Standards Framework, that they will see something that is measurably good for all four of our capitals.
One of the great things about public access to New Zealand’s great outdoors is that everyone helps. There are so many groups and people involved in building, maintaining and sharing tracks and trails across the motu.
The Department of Conservation has a plethora of incredible trails across its conservation land it manages. Local councils around New Zealand have many more tracks across their public land in parks and reserves. Many friendly farmers, forest managers, iwi and other landholders share their land with the public.
Meanwhile, countless small community groups, ecological restoration groups, tramping clubs and mountain biking groups build and care for trails on land they don’t own.
When New Zealand needs help to protect or extend its network of public access, tens of thousands of individuals answer the call. Remember, for example, the many people who chipped in to help buy Awaroa Inlet to add the beach to Abel Tasman National Park.
All of this is great news for us at the Walking Access Commission. We are a small agency and we cannot do everything by ourselves. What we can do is bring together all the different people and groups who care about tracks and trails. Over the coming years, we will continue our efforts to build partnerships between all these people, to share best practice and to work together to achieve our common goals.
We need all the good work people and groups are doing on individual trails to link together to bigger plans that includes tourism, infrastructure, environmental stewardship, healthy lifestyles and connected communities. We’re excited about doing this work, and welcome you to join with us.