When it comes to public beaches, public beaches have to be open to everyone
When it came to public beach access in New Zealand, there was an argument that if you don’t have access, it’s not public.
But now the National Parks Council is saying that there are no excuses for public access restrictions, and it is calling for all public beaches to be publicly accessible, at least in some cases.
The council’s policy comes after a spate of high profile public beach closures, which has seen the number of closures in recent years hit a high of 990 in March.
NPS officials say there are several reasons why public access should be open.
“It is critical that all of the public areas of our parks be accessible for the public to enjoy their activities, but also to make sure that the water and the vegetation are safe for the health of the visitors,” the council said in a statement.
“This is a common sense approach to ensure that all public areas are open to the public, regardless of age, gender, or disability.”
The New Zealand Association of Parks and Wildlife has said that a public access plan for all of New Zealand’s public beaches should be a requirement for any new developments to take place, and the NAPW has said the plan should be “comprehensive”.
“We have seen an increase in the number and intensity of closures over the last two years, including at the Waikato and Manawatu beaches, and we would urge the government to implement this public access policy at all new public access facilities, and also at other public access sites, including the beaches at Christchurch and the Port of Waitara,” the association said in its response to the council.
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