Doc not always access-friendly

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.

2 Responses to Doc not always access-friendly

  1. gravedodger says:

    The people who have risen to the top in DOC are so often totally separated from reality. The scope of managing the DOC estate under the traditional practices that have developed under the guidance of a mix of management graduates along with a bigger number of people totally committed to their view of preservation of the vast and ever growing DOC estate often by adopting measures such as you outlined above. When the National Parks for example were administered by boards made up of users, conservationists and management personel , some elected and some appointed, there was room for some sanity in decision making. Now however with every thing that was once controlled by Forrest service,National Parks and many other administrations is now under the DOC umbrella and with the zealous attitude to protecting it all with their possessive view of the estate we, the citizens, have lost contact and control.
    I have commented previously about DOCS almost total banning of dogs and I am saddened by the fact that DOC cannot in any way consider the rights of responsible dog owners, an official designation from our local authority, to any right to enjoy the same rights as other citizens. These other citizens include those who defecate in the open, leave litter including glass, remove plants on the basis that only me (it is not going to matter) etc.
    IMHO with the exponential growth of the area under their control, the greatest danger to OUR DOC estate will be the degradation of the physical condition of the land and improvements, from neglect and weed invasion, more so than allowing wider use of the land. They will need the support of all of us as users, visitors and owners if it is not to all end in tears. Actions of DOC in the case outlined above will only alienate those of us they need to help fulfill the dream that they have for the future of OUR DOC estate.

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