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.
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).
A summary of the most significant findings and recommendations for each of the major themes that emerged from the review.
It is widely acknowledged that New Zealanders are a people who place significant value in spending time in the natural environment.
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.
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.
Commission achievements and progress to date
Achievements since the Commission’s establishment in 2008 have been wide-ranging.
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.
Ten key themes were identified through the review process, relating to the need for the Act, and its ongoing operation and effectiveness.
Issues outside of review scope
Some feedback has not been addressed or considered further in this review.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.