Bill Removes Recreational Access & Fishing Rights
Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of New Zealand
11 August 2004
Foreshore & Seabed Bill Removes Recreational Access and Fishing Rights
“The Foreshore and Seabed is very important to all New Zealanders, and a part of our heritage as a nation”, the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations said in its submission to Parliament on the Bill, today. “Yet, in spite of Government Guarantees, the public loses mightily in this Bill” Dr Hugh Barr, spokesman for the Council, said.
“What the Government hasn’t told the public is that the Bill allows the courts and ministers to close any area of foreshore and seabed where they decide that a customary right exists. There is no opportunity for real public input into the decision” Dr Barr said. “Once so declared, and the public notified, there are summary fines for public use of up to $5,000 per person for trespass.”
“Under current legislation, the Crown has a duty of trust to manage F&S for the community, in a sustainable way. However, under the Bill, the Crown has grabbed the “full legal and beneficial ownership” of the F&S for itself “as its absolute property”, Dr Barr said. “This is the grab that has so vexed port companies, and local authorities. The public also loses mightily, as now the Crown has far fewer constraints on its actions for allocation, and is not bound by any duty of trust.”
Other areas of major concern to the Council are the proposed removal of common law rights to fish, or navigate. “These changes replace broad public rights with narrow rights, specified in legislation, and open the way for fishers to pay for fishing licences” Dr Barr said. A second concern was that public access to future reclamations was to be abolished, counter to the Labour Government’s election promises to improve public access to the coast.”
The vast majority of Maori would also be locked out of the F&S wherever exclusive customary rights were granted as the rights went solely to those with direct blood ties. Almost everyone loses under this Bill” Dr Barr said.