Marginal strips : how best to allow public access to lakes, rivers and the sea?
The marginal strip provisions in the Conservation Law Reform Bill 1989 are the latest in a long line of legislation to reserve in Crown ownership what is commonly known as the "Queen's Chain". The analysis identifies public access as the "historic" objective of marginal strip legislation and the one that is fuelling current public debate about marginal strips. It is suggested that proposed marginal strip provisions are a compromise between access and conservation objectives, and a desire by the Government to reduce survey and management costs while allowing productive use of the land to continue. However, the provisions are unlikely to provide much secure public access to water bodies due to a shortage of funds by DoC, the nature of the transaction costs involved in implementing the policy, and serious flaws in the policy's underlying theory. Two alternative approaches for the provision of public access are examined: First the use of covenants, and second the adoption of a partial "Right of Common Access". From the analysis undertaken it is suggested that a more adaptive approach is required if secure public access to lakes, rivers and the sea is to be available in New Zealand. The use of a partial "Right of Common Access" is recommended as the way to achieve this.... [Show full abstract]