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New walking access consultation panel formed

Hon Jim Sutton

MP for Aoraki

Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Biosecurity, Minister for Trade Negotiations, and Associate Minister for Rural Affairs

New walking access consultation panel formed

A new panel to lead consultation on improving access along waterways has been formed, Associate Rural Affairs Minister Jim Sutton announced today.

Mr Sutton said the panel, to be chaired by South Canterbury farmer John Acland, would engage in consultations to reach general agreement on what measures could be implemented to improve access to the publicly-owned resources of water and fish.

"The Government is still committed to certain, free, practical, and enduringpublicaccessalong public water and public land of significance. But to be enduring, it needs a broad public consensus in support.

"For this reason, there will be no imposition of a five-metre walkway. The Government is not pre-judging the work of the panel."

The panel will seek to clearly establish concerns of interest groups and the extent to which agreement can be reached on measures such as: clarifyingexistingpublicaccessrights along water margins, establishing the location of gaps in the Queens Chain and how these might be remedied, the establishment of a code of conduct and protecting the security of landholders.

"I hope we can make progress on these matters, and find an agreed way forward."

He said an eight-member panel had now been formed, made up of:

· John Acland, who chaired the original ministerial reference group on access;

· John Aspinall, a Wanaka farmer who was previously the Federated Farmers' spokesman on access;

· Bryce Johnson, the chief executive of Fish and Game;

· Claire Mulcock, who was also on the original ministerial reference group;

· Maggie Bayfield, the chief executive of Rural Women;

· Professor Tom Brooking, from Otago University;

· Parekawhia McLean, a Wellington consultant on Maori issues; and

· John Forbes, currently mayor of Opotiki.

Mr Sutton said the panellists had been appointed for their knowledge, experience, and personal abilities, not as representatives of any particular groups.


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