More than 60 per cent of tracks on New Zealand's Great Walks are not up to the Department of Conservation's standards.

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has released lists of DoC tracks, structures and huts, which have either been closed or are not up to standard.

They showed 236.9km of track on the Great Walks were not to standard out of a total track length of 394.7km.

Eight huts on New Zealand's Great Walks had service standard tasks not to standard and inspections were outstanding at eight huts.


At the time the lists were compiled, one hut was closed and another had serious or critical work outstanding.

Green Party conservation spokesman Kevin Hague said the lists showed 1085 DoC structures nationwide did not meet the required service standard, and almost half of all tracks were not up to scratch.

In all, 38 structures had serious work tasks outstanding, 85 failed barrier assessments, 168 failed load capacity assessments, and another 85 were closed.

"New Zealanders have to ask themselves, is it acceptable for that proportion of our tracks, and our huts and our structures and our species to not be meeting the standards that have been set for them? I suspect the answer is no."

Mr Hague said today's numbers would differ from those provided in the lists a couple of weeks ago but the lists were a snapshot of a moving situation.

He said structures overdue for serious or critical repairs, failing load capacity assessments or unassessed put lives at risk.

He cited the Cave Creek disaster where 14 people died in a platform collapse on the West Coast in 1995 and the failure of a suspension bridge in Hawkes Bay last year which sent four tourists into a river.

"The reason you have the standard is to ensure that adverse events are extremely unlikely."


Mr Hague said a lot of people had worked over many years to make sure back country tracks and huts were available. For them to be discontinued or closed was a concern.

In Parliament this week, Ms Barry said about a third of the work on the structures in serious or critical need of work had been completed within the past month with the rest scheduled to be finished by November.

Engineers had indicated work on those structures should be carried out within the next six months.

She said the bridges in need of repairs were part of a work schedule being carried out and if inspectors felt those structures posed a risk to safety, they would have been closed.

Ms Barry said something as small as a missing brush meant a hut might not meet its service standards.

She said data showed just 13 of the 944 huts DoC managed had some serious work outstanding.


That equated to about 1.3 per cent of DoC's extensive network of often remotely located huts.

Ms Barry said 50 tracks nationwide had been closed since 2008, often because of unavoidable natural hazards.

She said more than 400 tracks and more than 1000 extra kilometres had been added to DoC's network over the same period.

Federated Mountain Clubs of New Zealand president Peter Wilson said DoC would receive about $2 million less than the previous year after this week's Budget.

"For an organisation responsible for so much of our most precious land and species, as well as most of our tramping and mountaineering opportunities, these continual cuts are deeply disappointing".

Instead of steadily increasing DoC's core funding, in light of its growing responsibilities and land area, it seemed DoC could now only beg for one-off funding boosts, he said.


"One-off funding increases are not an excuse for ongoing core funding cuts," said Mr Wilson.