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Government's Access Consultation a Sham

Access meetings are nothing more than tax funded forum for fisherman, conservationists and shooters to grab something for nothing said Pam Richardson, North Canterbury Provincial President, Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc.), following the stakeholder and public meetings of the Land Access Ministerial Reference Group held in Christchurch on Tuesday.

“The Ministerial Reference Group report has made no attempt to address the negative impacts of access over private land it suggests that farmers should be willing to open their gates to people, but there was no questioning that public expectations were unrealistic.

“Farmers are being exposed to unacceptable behaviour of the general public, it's all very well talking about rights of access, what about the responsibilities?

“It's fine to be talking about codes of conduct for visitors, but who's going to enforce them? Who is going to pay compensation for stock losses when gates are left open? Who's going to reimburse for theft and damage? If farmers are expected to clean up visitors mess, who's going to compensate them for this effort, stress and loss of privacy?

“Hard questions have to be asked about the value and format of the public meetings. Last night's meeting allowed statements about lack of access to go unchallenged and without proof. For the taxpayer to get benefit from these meetings they must be better facilitated and attended by people who know the facts, for instance about the current availability of public access and the process of access over unformed roads. The members of the reference group present and MAF do not” concluded Mrs Richardson.

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