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One Plan - Farmer concerns over coast rules

18 September 2008

One Plan - Farmer concerns over coast rules

Representatives from Federated Farmers told the hearing panel for Horizons regional council's One Plan this week that facilitating public access to beaches was fine but restricting vehicle access in some areas was necessary.

Wanganui Federated Farmers vice-president, Tim Matthews told the panel that the reason for the Federation's submission is that beaches can be used to gain access in a limited number of cases to coastal farms, and farmers with local district council support, wished to limit access for vehicles where problems were occurring on beaches such as Wanganui's South Beach.

"Farmers are not seeking to stop public access, only vehicle access which results in the majority of problems for farmers including cut fences, vandalism, fire and stock theft.

"Wanganui Port under the One Plan has the ability to restrict public access to their business so why should the rules for farm land be any different?

"Wanganui Federated Farmers has previously experienced difficulty in trying to get police or district council bylaw action to deal with criminal activity facilitated by beach access, and One Plan endorsement of the situation might stiffen their resolve to do more in future.

"Federated Farmers would like public access restricted to walking only, where district councils agree the adverse effects of any vehicle access is causing farm security problems, dune damage, infrastructure damage, fire risk to forestry or damage to reserves along beaches."

Mr Matthews also pointed out that district councils regulate public access on beaches that border private land, even if regional councils want to encourage better public access opportunities through their regional plans.

Mr Matthews, with Tararua president Andrew Day, was presenting to the panel on new rules proposed for the topic, Coast. There are 13 topics that make up Horizons One Plan. Federated Farmers has submitted on all but one topic in the plan.

ENDS

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