Council to ‘burgle’ public access with bylaw?

Council bylaws are already difficult to police

The Marlborough Anglers and Surfcasters Club oppose the proposed Marlborough District Council (MDC) Bylaw prohibiting vehicle access between the Awatere and Waima River mouths on the east coast.

Council has already voted on and has a universal acceptance of the proposal, but there are national issues at stake and the matter needs a wider audience than a council hearing can provide:

1) Public access:

New Zealand was intended as an egalitarian society, differing from the ‘home’ countries in having a policy of public access to mountains, rivers, lakes and the coastline. This proposal attempts to remove that right of public access, using nefarious regulation in the form of an unworkable bylaw.

According to the Land Transport Act, beaches are public roads and subject to existing laws relating to speed of vehicles, dangerous driving and loss of traction— regulations already available to council.

Council maintains a bylaw is the best solution, inferring they could enforce it—yet council can’t enforce common law that already exists. This is a nonsense; council states vehicles will be allowed South of the Ure River with a speed restriction, implying they can selectively use common law on one section of beach but not for another!

2) POOR legislation:

Council will be unable to enforce the bylaw and, we suspect, will rely on people ‘dobbing’ others in, requiring or expecting council to prosecute. This is poor law making.

Here is an example of how difficult it is to police such a bylaw. The photo was taken at Bluegums Corner, Rarangi, April 2021, in front of 10 members of the public, in an area widely used and with a significant resident population. No prosecution or even stopping of the motorbikes took place!

One of two motorcyclists riding from near Diversion to near Rarangi.

Prosecutions on the basis of public complaint are likely to be difficult and hugely expensive. The supporting information must have already cost council multiple thousands of rate payer dollars—throwing more money from the same source is a waste.

3) Do councils OR Kiwis own the coastline?

Kiwis should be concerned at the implication of this and the effect on us and generations to come.

If this proposal proceeds it sets a precedent and councils can then impose conditions on any stretch of coastline. Our rights are being eroded in all directions.

4) In the interests of Public Safety?

Really? Rubbish statement; without any accident history, how on earth can council justify this statement?

5 Restore Unique Habitat:

Really? Councillors should evidence astute governance. We would like a councillor to stand just north of the Awatere River mouth OR just south of the Ure River mouth and demonstrate the differences in the habitat and environment—the gravel beach is almost unvaried for huge areas of the east coast, both north and south of the proposed area!

In Kaikoura hundreds of people daily walk over the uplifted sedimentary rocks, encouraged by DoC and the council. What is the difference and uniqueness of the uplifted area of the reefs in this location?

6) Maybe the ‘crux’ of the reasons for the proposal:

Lighthouses hold a special fascination and mystique and this lighthouse was recently used as the setting for an international movie. All over New Zealand, including Cape Reinga, Cape Kidnappers, Wellington Coast, Farewell Spit and many other, lighthouses are visited each year by thousands of people!

Since the earthquake, access to the Cape Campbell lighthouse has been easier for everyone, whether for fishing, sightseeing or other. It would be a mighty long walk and unsuitable for many if this access is denied.

Everyone should have unfettered public access to Cape Campbell lighthouse so they can continue to enjoy its wonderful history and unique setting.

Why would a council want to rob its people of that?


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