Walking Access across Private Land:
Behind the Soundbites

Pete McDonald.

In January 2003 the minister for rural affairs, Jim Sutton, had set up the Land Access Ministerial Reference Group to study issues around access along and to New Zealand's rivers and coastal margins, to public land and across private rural land. This initiative had triggered two years of heated debate over walking access across private land, from January 2003 to December 2004.

In August 2003 the Group presented its report, Walking Access in the New Zealand Outdoors. This report recommended the development of a New Zealand access strategy. In December 2004 the government released some details of its proposed Land Access Strategy.

During the two years of government analysis, consultation and planning, the issue of walking access across private rural land caused intense intermittent controversy. 'Walking Access across Private Land: Behind the Soundbites' (December 2004) scrutinised a typical contribution to that controversy, the Federated Farmers paper, 'Mythbusters'.

December 2004.

Walking Access across Private Land: Behind the Soundbites (582 KB, ninety-four A4 pages).

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Taiaro Head on the Otago Peninsula: nice carpark, nowhere to walk. The sign is on a gate on Tarewai Road, a private road that leads to Penguin Beach.