Preserving Outdoor Access

Radio New Zealand’s Insight programme has looked at public access rights and the conflict over paper roads in New Zealand. The 28 minute audio programme can be found at the end of the linked page.

Paper Roads are legal rights of way, effectively public land, but some aren’t practically navigable as roads. Some also go through private property, and have sometimes been treated as inconvenient or non-existant by owners of surrounding land.

Conflict between property owners and people who want access through their land via these rights of way has been a festering issue in recent years. Several years ago, the Walking Access Commission was created, with a general role of liaising between the sides. I wrote about this in 2009.

From its beginnings, one of the early problems the Commission identified that recreationalists were having was not actually knowing where they had public access rights to go. An early success stories therefore, in my view, has been the Walking Access Mapping System. That system collates together information held by LINZ and countless local councils, and makes it clear where legal public access actually exists throughout New Zealand.

The Insight episode tracks down people on both sides of the issue, and it’s worth a listen for its presentation of the problems being faced.

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