DOC camp upgrade reflects 'new direction'

The Government is spending $2.2 million upgrading a camping site in Marlborough's Queen Charlotte Sound, while a commercial deal will help the Department of Conservation carry out work there.

Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith welcomed the upgrade to the DOC campsite at Momorangi Bay.

The investment would enhance the "classic Kiwi camping experience", he said.

"These upgrades at Momorangi Bay mean the 23,500 people who stay at the campground each year can now look forward to an even better experience in this jewel of the Marlborough Sounds," he said.

The first phase has already been completed, with $500,000 spent on water-storage upgrades and building a new single-lane road bridge to the grounds.

A second phase of upgrades will start after the summer season and includes new showers and a swimming platform. Camp roads will be tarsealed, the seawall upgraded and power for the site put underground.

Smith said the work was expected to be finished by March next year, and would cost $1.7 million.

Outdoor clothing and equipment company Kathmandu would provide a further $75,000 to carry out conservation work around the grounds.

"The campground upgrade and adjacent conservation project at Momorangi Bay reflect DOC's new direction," Smith said.

"We are putting a greater emphasis on recreation and ensuring New Zealanders can get out and enjoy the great outdoors at an affordable cost."

Department lack of funding has been the subject of headlines over the past year.

In 2012, the Government slashed $54m from DOC's budget. Last year, a further $8.7m was directed to come out, with the loss of 140 jobs. 

The Press