Public access mapping system launched in NZ

Public access mapping system launched in NZ

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New Zealand (NZ): The New Zealand Walking Access Commission is producing a mapping system so that people can more easily find out where there is legal public access across land. Today, it has released guidelines for access to the nation’s beaches, waterways and mountains. The code was released at Parliament by Agriculture Minister David Carter. The commission expected to complete the mapping project this year.

“The current system is complicated. It is not easy for people to find information on where they can go on publicly-owned land, or who to contact to ask for permission to access privately-owned land,” said commission chairman John Acland.

The commission was expected to provide practical, enduring and guaranteed walking access to the outdoors that the public could enjoy at no cost. “Our role is to promote, encourage and, where appropriate, negotiate public access on foot to rivers, lakes and the coastline, and to our forests, mountains and countryside,” Acland said.

The guidelines, a code of behaviour, spelt out the need for people to behave properly and to take responsibility for their actions in the outdoors. And the code also asked landholders to continue the traditions of New Zealand, which had seen it as customary for landholders to give access to people wanting to cross their land, though Acland noted that access across private land relied on landholder goodwill.

“Respect for property rights is important – both the property rights of private landowners and the public’s property rights,” he said.

Statutory rights included:
– roads, including unformed legal roads, and much of the land reserved along water margins;
– marginal strips along rivers, lakes and the coast;
– public reserves: various kinds with a variety of access rights;
– other Crown land reserved from sale, depending on use of the land by the Crown;
– esplanade reserves, esplanade strips and access strips, though there might be restrictions.

Public access to some public lands or water bodies could be restricted for safety reasons, such as around the spillways of hydro-electric dams.

Source: NZ Herald News