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Smith's coastal land ownership Bill gets support

5 August 2004

Hon. Nick Smith - National MP for Nelson

Smith's coastal land ownership Bill gets support

Nelson MP Nick Smith is delighted that his Bill requiring foreign buyers of coastal land to give up any riparian rights received majority support in Parliament last night and passed its first reading by 97 to 23 votes.

"We need to ensure that New Zealanders' right of access along our beaches, lake shores and rivers is not restricted by the increasing foreign ownership of coastal and island properties," says Dr Smith.

His Bill applies to the sale of islands and land adjacent to the coast, lakes and rivers. It requires the Overseas Investment Commission to consider public access issues and requires the creation of an Esplanade Reserve where there is no Queen's Chain.

It is estimated that 30% of the coastline does not have a Queen's Chain set aside for public access.

"This is about recognising New Zealand's unique culture of not having private beaches, rivers and lakes," Dr Smith says. "This is not the case in many countries, and too often foreign owners are restricting New Zealanders from access to coastal areas.

"This Bill has been triggered by my experience in Nelson with Pepin Island and Waitai Station on D'Urville Island, but there are dozens of examples all around New Zealand".

The Bill has been referred to the Local Government and Environment Select Committee for public submissions.


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