One of the reasons cited for surrendering pastoral lease land to the crown is that the public will have better access than when it’s under private control.
However, that’s not always the case.
Friends went through tenure review. Part of the land that went back to the crown had been used for an annual mountain bike race. It had been run for years and the farmers had never charged the organisers.
Once the land came under Doc control the race organisers were charged for access which meant they then had to charge race participants more. The race then became too expensive for some people and the organisers were considering canning it.
Doc may well be acting in a fiscally responsible manner in trying to offset some of the costs of looking after the vast tracts of land which had been taken back under public control. As a taxpayer I don’t have a problem with that, but it does show that when it comes to access the theory that public ownership = good and private ownership = bad isn’t necessarily so.
Apropos of this, the ODT reports that film makers are complaining that filming on land administered by DOC is becoming increasingly fraught.
Filming on conservation land is becoming so difficult that some parts of The Lord of Rings movies would not be able to be filmed if they were being made today, Film New Zealand chairman Julian Grimmond says.
That film and others which showcase New Zealand’s stunning scenery are wonderful advertisements for the country which attract tourists. It would be a pity if access problems compromised this wonderful opportunity for free publicity.
Not all of land suitable for filming is under Doc control and film makers may be able to find alternative sites. But given the transient nature of filming you’d think it would be possible to allow access without compromising any conservation values or causing any serious conflicts of interests with other visitors.