Date approved: 12 August 2013
Review date: August 2016
Policy owner: New Zealand Walking Access Commission
Policy overview and purpose
1. This prosecution policy applies to any prosecutions that may be considered by the Commission in respect of the offences prescribed in sections 54 and 56 of the Walking Access Act 2008. The objective of the policy is to ensure the public have unimpeded use of walkways established under the Act or preceding Acts, within the terms applying to the walkways, and to protect the interests of landowners as expressed or implied in the offences prescribed in sections 54 and 56.
2. The expectation of the Commission is that controlling authorities of walkways will generally be responsible for prosecutions under these provisions.
3. The policy applies to those circumstances where the Commission takes direct responsibility for a prosecution, but also provides guidance for controlling authorities of walkways in respect of any prosecutions they may consider.
4. This policy adopts to the extent relevant, and is subject to, the current Prosecution Guidelines issued by the Solicitor-General.
Explanation of the policy
5. It is the policy of the Commission to promote compliance with the walkway provisions of the Act through publicising in co-operation with the walkway controlling authorities, the location of walkways and the respective obligations and responsibilities of the public and landholders.
6. Possible offences will be dealt with wherever possible by mediation with the affected parties. Prosecutions are to be considered only when this approach fails or where it would not be appropriate, such as discharge of firearms or the lighting of a significant fire.
7. Some of the offences under sections 54 and 56 may also be offences under other legislation. In these instances the Commission will consult with the responsible agency to determine an appropriate course of action.
Conduct of prosecutions
8. Any decision to prosecute for the offences subject to this policy will be taken by Board on the recommendation of the Chief Executive of the Commission, or in the Chief Executive’s absence the person delegated to act in the Chief Executive’s place.
9. The test for making a decision to prosecute will be taken in accordance with the provisions in the Solicitor-General’s Prosecution Guidelines.
10. Given the limited resources of the Commission any prosecution to be undertaken by the Commission will be conducted by instructing a Crown Solicitor, who will be consulted before any decision to prosecute is made.
11. Any proposed appeal in respect of any prosecution brought by the Commission will be reviewed by the Board before seeking any necessary consent from the Attorney-General.