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Strategy For Improving Public Access To Outdoors

Public Access New Zealand Inc

News Media Release 10 July 2003

MAJOR STRATEGY FOR IMPROVING PUBLIC ACCESS TO OUTDOORS RELEASED

What has been described as "the defining document on public access in New Zealand"* was released today by recreational lobby group Public Access New Zealand.

'Improving public access to the outdoors: a strategy for implementing Government's election policies' is a 40 page manifesto of actions the Government can take to greatly improve access to the Queen's Chain, public lands, beaches, waters, and the countryside in general.

"Given the recent eruption of public concern over foreshores and the seabed, it is most timely that the non-government sector is providing some well-founded advice to Government", Bruce Mason compiler of the strategy said. Months of research and consultation went into its production. The project commenced immediately after the last election with a view to alerting the Government to measures that could be taken to implement Labour's outdoor recreation policies.

Late last year the Government announcement the appointment of a 'reference group' to advise it on public access measures. PANZ has provided copies of its strategy to the group and to Ministers to assist them in their work. It is hoped that this will make a substantial contribution towards achieving best outcomes for the public of New Zealand.

The strategy addresses six themes-

LOST LANDS (reclaiming information on the public estate-a huge issue in need of immediate action) PUBLIC ROADS & PATHS (a great need and opportunity for countryside access) QUEEN'S CHAIN (extending public reserves along water margins) RIVERS & LAKES (securing public ownership and public recreation) BATHING AT THE BEACH (overturning antiquated law and securing Crown ownership) FISHING & HUNTING ACCESS (providing equal access for all to fish and game)

The strategy concludes that 75 per cent of 41 identified actions entail only policy and resourcing decisions, or only minor legislative amendments. There is no necessity for changes to law that might radically threaten existing public rights or private property.

"The public has become very impatient with successive Government's giving lip service to a growing public clamour for fair and reasonable access and enjoyment of the outdoors, particularly Crown-owned resources. With Government's welcome initiative, with the input of our strategy, there can no longer be excuses for inaction", Mr Mason concluded.

Attached, or is available from 'Improving public access to the outdoors: a strategy for implementing Government's election policies', pdf 100k

END

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