Waterway Rights

While in favour generally of moves to protect and extend the Queens Chain, the proposal by the Government to effectively nationalise the banks of every stream, lakeside or coastline is a massive attack on property rights.

Some may compare to the foreshore legislation, but this is a world apart. These are owners with actual existing title. The foreshore legislation overturns a Court decision saying that one could try to apply for title with a very high barrier for sucess and only where there has been unbroken customary usage. And even that only came about due to a drafting error in the law in 1991.

I’m not so worried about the coastline and lakeside access, but allowing the public to walk alongside any stream in NZ is quite an intrusion into someone’s private property. This is not just about huge farms, but my family used to have a 15 acre farm in Reikorangi which had a stream through it. They would have been nervous about allowing us kids to run around it, if any stranger could march therough it next to the stream.

I am a keen tramper myself and have often tramped on private farm land, but always (I think) with permission. Most farmers like people to enjoy the outdoors. Makara Farm has been especially good at allowing groups to tramp from Makara to Red Rocks. They even have a small hut they will allow people to use at Ohau Bay I think.

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