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Access – Private Property Rights Unclear

21 April 2006

Access – Private Property Rights Unclear

“Farmers will be expecting any outcome from consultation on outdoor walking access to reflect true consensus,” said Bruce McNab, access spokesman for Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).

Mr McNab was referring to the access discussion document released today by the Walking Access Consultation Panel.

The panel was formed when the government scrapped its controversial access reforms after the federation’s Action Orange campaign last year.

“It is disappointing that the principles adopted by the panel do not contain an unequivocal statement that landowner’s property rights must be protected.

“Federated Farmers agrees that public access across public land to reach publicly owned resources should be certain and enduring. The best way for that to be achieved is through public ownership of that access acquired through purchase.

“However, it has long been shown that it is possible to get regular and certain access over private land when good relationships have been developed with the landowners,” said Mr McNab.

Federated Farmers’ surveys show that over 90 percent of landowners provide free access if asked.

“Recognising the right of landowners to enjoy the privacy of their own property and to manage who comes onto that property is fundamental to the way of life of all New Zealanders,” said Mr McNab.

Federated Farmers will be looking carefully at the detail of the access principles released today to ascertain that any implementation will not undermine landowner’s private property rights.

There are 25 nationwide meetings planned for consultation on the issues surrounding walking access to and along rivers, lakes and the coast. The first meeting is on May 16.


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