Report on the Findings of the Review of the Walking Access Act 2008

Section 80 of the Walking Access Act 2008 required a review of the Act to take place ten years after its commencement, with a report to be presented to the House of Representatives within the following year. The Act specified that the review consider the need for the Act, its operation and effectiveness, and whether any amendments are necessary or desirable.

The review was led by the Ministry for Primary Industries, which is the agency responsible for the administration of the Act. The review included an extensive public engagement process, which took place between 17 May 2019 and 2 July 2019.

The report on the findings of the review has been presented to the House of Representatives and includes recommendations for a number of changes that could be made to the Act and the work of the Commission.

Review of the Walking Access Act

Foreword

Dr. Hugh Logan, Sandra Faulkner, Leith Comer QSO

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Review of the Walking Access Act

Message from Hon Damien O’Connor

I am pleased to present this report on the findings of the review of the Walking Access Act 2008 (the Act).

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Review of the Walking Access Act

Executive Summary

A summary of the most significant findings and recommendations for each of the major themes that emerged from the review.

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Review of the Walking Access Act

Introduction

It is widely acknowledged that New Zealanders are a people who place significant value in spending time in the natural environment.

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Review of the Walking Access Act

Summary of report recommendations

A list of the recommendations included in this report, organised by key theme (see Key themes), are included in the table below.

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Review of the Walking Access Act

Background

The Act is about providing free, certain, enduring and practical access to the outdoors for walking and for types of access associated with walking, such as access with firearms, dogs, motorcycles or motor vehicles.

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Review of the Walking Access Act

Commission achievements and progress to date

Achievements since the Commission’s establishment in 2008 have been wide-ranging.

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Review of the Walking Access Act

Overview of engagement process for this review

In designing the engagement process, the review team considered the wide range of interests in public access to the outdoors.

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Review of the Walking Access Act

Key themes

Ten key themes were identified through the review process, relating to the need for the Act, and its ongoing operation and effectiveness.

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Review of the Walking Access Act

Issues outside of review scope

Some feedback has not been addressed or considered further in this review.

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Review of the Walking Access Act

Impact of concurrent reforms

There are a number of other reforms being considered across Government that may impact how well the Act and the Commission can develop and maintain public access.

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Review of the Walking Access Act

Conclusion and next steps

Enshrining a system for negotiated public access in legislation attests to the significant value of access to the outdoors, including as a fundamental part of New Zealand culture.

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Review of the Walking Access Act

Appendix A – Terms of reference questions

he review of the Act must consider the need for the Act, its operation and effectiveness, and whether any amendments to the Act are necessary or desirable.

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Review of the Walking Access Act

Appendix B – Public Feedback Paper discussion questions

Are the Walking Access Act 2008 and the New Zealand Walking Access Commission needed? What’s working well in your view? Can you provide evidence to support your view?

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Review of the Walking Access Act

Appendix C – Relevant provisions of the Walking Access Act 2008

Excerpts on the purpose, objective, functions of the commission and consideration of priorities for walking access over private land.

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