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Labour’s rural candidates set for a roasting

6 January 2005

Labour’s rural candidates set for a roasting

“A Herald-DigiPoll survey out this week showing nine out of 10 New Zealanders against giving people the automatic right to roam confirms the public hasn’t got a problem with farmers’ long-standing exclusive use land rights,” ACT Rural Affairs spokesman Gerry Eckhoff said today.

The poll of 1000 adults was conducted in late November before the Government announced its plans to open public access to lakes, creeks and rivers. More than 87 percent of those questioned said no to people walking in the countryside having an automatic right to go across farmers’ land.

“This Government is determined to legislate the right to roam simply because most of its voters are urban and it sees a clear electoral advantage, but one that comes at a cost for rural communities.

“We now have two clear polls which will hopefully help the Government see the light and abandon its plans to legislate for any compulsion. We know 87.4 percent of the general public percent don’t support the Government’s policy on public access to private land and a prior survey showed that 92 percent of farmers already allowed public access through their land if asked first.

“There is absolutely no need to change the law. Things have worked well for generations and there’s not a problem. Labour likes to take notice of public opinion polls but if it doesn’t respect opinion on this issue, it’s going to have a real fight on its hands.

“If it thinks retaining the Maori seats will be tough, its rural candidates are in for a real roasting this coming election,” said Mr Eckhoff.


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