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Walking access is a factor under section 17(2)(c)(ii) of the Act. Landowners are encouraged to provide walking access to areas of significance and public interest.
Walking access will be relevant where there is no adequate existing public access to areas such as lakes and other water margins, publicly owned conservation land, sites of historic and cultural importance (including wāhi tapu), mountain passes and other publicly owned land.
A range of existing legal arrangements, commonly referred to as the “Queen's chain”, has resulted in approximately 70% of land abutting New Zealand's coast, lakes and rivers being in some form of public ownership or subject to statutory access provisions. However, due to the historical nature that led to the formation of these interests in land, many of the access points are interspersed by privately owned land. In the absence of such access, the Government encourages landowners to provide walking access to areas of significance and public interest.
Formal mechanisms for access include the creation of walkways under the Walking Access Act 2008.
Applicants for consent to overseas investment in sensitive land can demonstrate their intention to provide, protect, and improve public walking access along and to water margins on land they are intending to purchase by agreeing to:
- allow appropriate access over the property to specific sites of public interest (such as lakes and mountain passes, other publicly owned land) and to adjoining public land
- allow access along the margins of certain rivers and waterways
- establish tracks and signs to assist the public to navigate on the property where necessary, and
- ensure any existing or new tracks or walkways on the property have signs in appropriate locations advising the public.
The OIO requires a report detailing whether there are or will be adequate mechanisms in place for providing, protecting, or improving walking access over the relevant land or a relevant part of that land by the public or any section of the public.
The report should detail:
- a description of the walking access over the land, including maps showing the proposed walking access
- whether the walking access will be created under statute (for example the Walking Access Act 2008)
- the extent to which the proposed mechanisms will provide, protect, or improve walking access
- a brief report detailing the measures to be undertaken
- the capital expenditure (if any) required
- any uncertainties or contingencies relating to the achievement of the benefits claimed under this factor, and
- the timeframe within which the measures are to be put in place.
Alternatively, walking access may not be appropriate if it would be dangerous to allow public access to any of the property because the property primarily comprises industrial buildings.