Key themes

Overview

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

Each key theme is addressed in detail below and accompanied by recommendations, covering both legislative and non-legislative changes to the Act and work of the Commission.

These ten themes include:

Review of the Walking Access Act

Necessity of the Act

Across all engagement feedback, there was resounding support for the ongoing necessity of the Act and the work done by the Commission.

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Review of the Walking Access Act

Purpose, objective and priorities

Strong support was expressed for changing wording in the Act to clarify the scope of access to broaden references to ‘walking’ access to ‘outdoors’ or ‘public’ access.

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Review of the Walking Access Act

Challenges and future requirements

Barriers for landowners, growing visitor numbers, equity of access, walkway mechanism, and guidance and management of access user behaviour

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Review of the Walking Access Act

Functions of the Commission

Feedback was mixed about whether changes are needed to the functions of the Commission.

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Review of the Walking Access Act

Māori interests

Māori stakeholders noted a general lack of awareness of the Act and the work of the Commission, primarily as a result of the Act’s limited impact on, and relevance for Māori.

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Review of the Walking Access Act

Controlling Authorities

It is increasingly challenging to find a public body willing to take on the Controlling Authority role as a result of the time and costs.

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Review of the Walking Access Act

Governance

The Commission's independence and impartiality, including its ability to represent all interests in public access disputes, must be maintained.

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Review of the Walking Access Act

Resourcing

A key issue raised through engagement feedback was that the amount of Government funding received by the Commission is inadequate.

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Review of the Walking Access Act

Specific legislative changes

A number of suggestions for specific legislative changes, which emerged through engagement, are considered below. These are relatively technical in nature.

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