Foreign owner fights access to NZ farm

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This makes my blood boil. The owner is buying time and that's all they're going to gain before the inevitable forced sale. And then there's this nonsense perpetuated in the comments: "Under current health and safety legislation the landowner can be held liable for accidents and injuries that occur on their land. They are required to have a health and safety plan in place for random, unannounced and unknown visitors. Many insurers will no longer offer the liability insurance." OSH only applies to employed people or volunteers working for an outfit that has at least one employed person e.g. FMC. Why do people keep trying to say that recreational visitors are affected by OSH?
"The company's other director, Masterton-based Philip Guscott, did not respond to questions." He runs Wairarapa Property Consultants.
In support of Honora - ""Does the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 significantly change the obligations farmers have to ensure the safety of recreational visitors to their land? What are the obligations of farm owners and managers towards recreational visitors to their farms?"" - are answered here;
Further to this my non-legal understanding is that it doesn't change much, but lobbying from FMC etc resulted in Parliament inserting a clause which specifically made it clear that farmers are only liable under the Act in places where work is actually taking place. Here it is in 37(3): In other words, the farm isn't covered by default but if a PCBU is planning to undertake active work like moving stock or driving a tractor around, then maybe take steps which the law would consider reasonable under other parts of the Act. ie. Make sure that nobody's there first, and take reasonable steps to ensure that anyone who shows up won't get in the way. Firstly I think what that owner's saying is rubbish. Not just because of the claims about Health and Safety but because he knew the conditions were to negotiate to allow public access before he bought the place, and now he's trying to get out of it by citing claims he should have checked out beforehand. Having said that, though, I'm guessing a concern (I'm not sure if it's valid) is with how much this has been tested in court, especially around what's reasonable when the public don't do what they're told. eg. If there's a more direct route to somewhere across land that the owner doesn't want to allow, the legal interpretation for a farm that's popular with public access might be that the PCBU still needs to presume that the public could be crossing those places, even without permission, and especially if the PCBU knows that it sometimes happens despite their attempts to prevent it. eg. Maybe they have to take reasonable steps to alleviate risks of anyone getting run over by the tractor, even though it's not visiting a place where access was ever allowed in the first place. And what steps does a court consider to be reasonable in those circumstances? Signs? Road cones? Attempts to drive carefully? We can come up with opinions on what's reasonable, and maybe we're right, but what matters is what a court declares and the precise context it was considering when it declared it. Sometimes I'm sure owners are just making up excuses because they don't want to bother with allowing public access, but at other times we're asking some people to bank what might be their whole family's future on something that not everyone agrees is certain in the law, especially if allowing access might result in large numbers of people entering their property. What's in it for them?
> He runs Wairarapa Property Consultants. He's not been shy from speaking to media previously about other matters, either.
@Honora Totally with your sentiment here; read the same article with the same anger. Made even more personal because I lived in the Wairarapa for over five years and visited exactly the places in question a number of times. The only upside seems to be that finally the Walking Commission and OIO seem to have had enough of his nonsense are are starting to talk tough. Other landowners should pay attention to this development; and take careful note that good faith negotiations over reasonable, defined public access are in your best interests long term. Indeed I suspect one Mr Guscott may have some very real misgivings about how all this is playing out. It's all a bit nuts on the surface; I'd imagine there is more going on here than meets the eye.
Kudos to the OIO, I think, for finally appearing to care. From what I gather the WAC routinely makes recommendations for access on overseas investment applications. That'd be great except it seems to be the OIO which rolls over and ignores them any time the purchaser and seller simply said "no I'm not doing that" or "yes I'll provide 'access', but only on my own terms" which turn out to be little more than a token gesture which is largely useless to nearly everyone.
They say that the OIO may force the sale of the land if the conditions of sale are not met. My thought is that they never had any intention of obeying the conditions of the sale and are deliberately thumbing their noses at the OIA. A suitable penalty for this should be the forfeiture of the land in question. At the very least OIA should be anulling the sale with the land going back to the original owner with all moneys returned or if that is not possible (if original owner has spent the money etc) then the land should be force purchased by the OIA at the original sale price minus and penalties. It doesnt matter about H&S it doesnt matter about any effects of walking access. It doesnt matter about any percieved reputation. All that matters is that a condition of sale was put on this purchase by a legal government entity and that condition must be enforced. If OIA back down who wants to join me in a private prosecution in the high court. If we can get 1000 people then its only a couple 100 each
Well, if it could make an example out of these backsliders, I'd be prepared to put my money where my mouth is. I'm sure there would be 100 people in the outdoor community who would be prepared to fund this e.g. a givealittle fund. My brother set one up to fund a decent lawyer for our ex-brother in law, wrongly accused of knowingly importing 3kg of cocaine, and managed to raise $9,000. It was surprising who chipped in.
That was 1000 people not 100. Even so if you can get it publicized then you could get half of tv3s listeners chipping in. Then we can go straight to Supreme court. (or for the same amount just buy the land and give it to the people of nz)
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Forum Tracks, routes, and huts
Started by Honora
On 26 June 2018
Replies 20
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