Public rights of passage
Public access to public land
These are the things we’re concerned about
Where we make our stand
For when our early settlers
Founded our country free
They did it with clear intention
Some things would surely be
Access for everyone
Not just those with wealth
The same opportunities for all
For our physical and mental health
Whatever your mode of transport
No arguments about
Getting outdoors is healthy
Of that there is no doubt
In a world plagued by ailments
Our government really ought to support
Those who seek the backcountry
For honest recreation and sport
Whatever is your choice
Whether by foot, bike, vehicle, boat or horse
(Although it must always be said
Respect is a given, of course)
One reason for public access
To keep wild animal numbers down
Wasteful to deny Hunters opportunity
And then have costs fall to the Crown
DOC’s a big part of the challenge
Sure they’re charged with conservation
But overlooking they’re also responsible
To facilitate public recreation
For those who would like to discriminate
Or worse deny our legal right
It should be no surprise
When we stand up and fight
Honouring those who fought and died
To keep our country free
Public access where it’s due
That’s all we want to see
Access is so important. Unfortunately the introduction of pheasant preserve (paid shooting) has undermined the fundamental importance of fish and game law. For some strange reason 20 years ago, Fish and Game NZ sanctioned the setting up of pheasant preserves which fundamentally contravene Sec 23 Wild Life Act which says charging for shooting rights is prohibited.
There is a matching regulation for trout and salmon fishing.
Some unscrupulous fishing guides set up an arrangement with some land owners to buy exclusive rights, i.. anyone else was denied access.
There is a loophole in the law which needs three little words (“or access thereto”) added to close the loophole. It has never been enacted. It needs to be ASAP.
Fittingly the photo if my memory is correct was of the late John B Henderson, former NZ Deerstalkers Assn., president, that has been published in a recent book by Tony Orman, “Down a Country Road Two.” John Henderson was a tireless battler for the public estate and public ownership of fish and game.
Our outdoor recreational activities are slowly being eroded away but this will change and those who deny access now will be moved on. We must keep our backcountry open for all to enjoy whether it be fishing or hunting or enjoying the many rivers we have. New Zealand is for the people so why close it up.
As a young boy growing up in England I never had the opportunity to fish for the Brown Trout that lived in the River Stour that ran through the Kent countryside as the access to this river was closed to the general public. In 1968 I made the choice to head out to New Zealand and discovered that anyone could going fishing for trout as long as they had a licence, since 1971 I have brought my licence so that I could experience the joys of trout fishing and have access to our great rivers. We are now seeing a major threat to public access and some areas of New Zealand the river access is being controlled by the highest bidder so that they can keep the water to their clients, I believe all New Zealanders should be able to access our great outdoors. That’s one of the key reasons that for the past 53 years New Zealand is the place I call home, regards Malcolm
Anybody who thinks there is easy access to our back country for recreational activities is mistaken. Many activities are now for the rich only. MP’s and the Government Departments which advise them have been seduced by the cunning. It’s time for free access to be enshrined in law like a proper written constitution and prosecution for those who deny it.