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Meridian Denies Public Access To Makara Coast

Sunday June 26, 2005

Meridian Denies Public Access To Makara Coast

It is not only Federated Farmers that wants to lock the public out of land. Proposers of Wellington City's first regional park at Makara, Quartz Hill Reserve Charitable Trust, are asking that State Owned Enterprise Meridian Energy stop denying public access through their farm, to the Makara Coast.

"Meridian are defying a cabinet decision to provide public access to drive and mountainbike on Opau Road to Opau Bay on the west Makara coast" Trust Chairman Nick Jennings said.

"Documents recently released by Treasury under the Official Information Act (attached) have shown the extent of the denial", Mr Jennings said. "Treasury have insisted since 1996 that public access is required to implement Cabinet's decision for public access when the Makara Farm was allocated to Meridian's predecessor ECNZ in the early 1990s".

Cabinet decided to create this public access because of community demand for maintaining public access to the Makara coast. Despite the Department of Conservation's ongoing requirement and the willingness of Meridian's parent ECNZ to comply with the decision, Meridian Energy has failed to comply.

Mr Jennings said the government had spent public money surveying and mapping this improved public access to the west Makara coast, the popular Fort Opau gun emplacements, and Post Office Bush conservation covenant.

"But instead of improved public access, Meridian were turning the public away from the coast, and had erected signs threatening prosecution" Mr Jennings said.

"People who want to go fishing at this important access point to the coast at Opau Bay, and those who want easier walking access to the coast and the beautiful Te Ika-a-maru Bay, are all being denied access."

"People who have difficulty climbing up the escarpment track from the coast to the gun emplacements for the stunning views of this wild and scenic coast, are being denied easy wheelchair access from Opau Road" said Mr Jennings.

"It is time for cabinet's decision to be complied with by State Owned Enterprise Meridian Energy" Mr Jennings said.


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