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United Future announces walking access policy

Monday, 3 July 2006

United Future announces walking access policy

United Future conservation spokesperson, Gordon Copeland, has announced the party's policy response to the Walking Access Consultation Panel.

"Under the confidence and supply agreement, Labour has agreed that United Future will be involved in the negotiation of improved public access along rivers, lakes and foreshores," said Mr Copeland.

"Protecting the rights of both recreational users and landowners is an important aspect of this policy."

He said United Future is seeking a fair and sympathetic resolution to the issue of walking access.

"The present circumstances governing public access are an uncomfortable mix of legally existing but inadequately defined public access corridors (so called 'paper roads') that have been long forgotten or poorly understood.

"It is not practical to continue with this situation as it stands and decisions need to be made," said Mr Copeland.

A detailed paper outlining United Future's policy has been drafted and forwarded to the Minister of Rural Affairs.

As well as the rights of landowners the paper proposes the need for greater information about existing access and the case-by-case potential to exchange 'paper roads' for access over private land.

A possible access fee to landowners for the establishment of new access areas, the establishment of a Land Access Agency to oversee the establishment of new access and the restoration of lost access, and a code of responsible conduct to help protect landowners from damage to property are also included.

"This is an issue that many New Zealanders, landowners and recreational users alike, are extremely passionate about," said Mr Copeland.

"It is my intention that all parties work together to increase recreational access to New Zealand's rivers, lakes and foreshore while protecting the rights of landowners and their property," concluded Mr Copeland.

ENDS

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