Owing to a missed opportunity during the OIO process, public access to conservation land in the Hunter Valley remains as only by grace and favour of the managers of the Hunter Station. This should never have happened and needs to be set right.
The proposal to retrospectively provide an easement across nearly 40 kilometres of pastoral lease would be supported by many recreationalists including trampers, climbers, hunters and fishers.
“However, NZDA recognises that the vehicle track would requires some upgrading and ongoing maintenance and believe this should not be a charge on the station owner. The fact that he is a foreigner is irrelevant to this case, it’s just a matter of setting the matter of free access that was intended at the start but somehow overlooked. So public money should pay for improved access, including any realignment of the track to preserve the manager’s privacy,” said Mr O’Leary.
He added that one proposal to manage an increase in vehicle traffic on the track was for the Department of Conservation to operate a booking system. “This is common on other tracks around the country and recreationalists would put up with the minor inconvenience.”