Entering Closed DOC areas an offence?

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https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/118011616/biker-could-be-prosecuted-for-going-through-closed-section-of-newest-great-walk The man said he wanted to complete it anyway and passed "Do not Proceed" signs along the way. "It's really disappointing that this person ignored the closure of this section of the track. By entering an active construction site, he put himself and our contractors at risk." Wet weather at the time contributed to safety concerns, but the main hazard for the biker was that the closed section of track was an active construction site, Hall said. "DOC is monitoring the track closely and our warranted officer was able to easily locate the offender. An investigation into the breach is under way and could result in prosecution, he said. Entering a closed area on public conservation land is an offence under the Conservation Act. Breaches of the Conservation Act can result in a fine of up to $100,000 and/or up to one year's imprisonment. Stuff Ok entering a construction site was a bit silly but the wording above suggests Doc can close anywhere for any reason and reap the rewards
Ha. Beat me to it. Was just about to post the same question - thought the whole point was that doc couldn't legally close tracks. @izogi where are you ... this has to be a question for the bush lawyer!
I"m guessing he's violated OSH laws around unauthorised entry to a construction site... its not just guys with spades and chainsaws on that track, theres mechanical diggers on it, there could be blasting as well. its been cut through some pretty steep difficult terrain in places.. they closed the track for a month to repair a 20 metre section that was damaged, so thats some pretty major work for such a short section when they may be using heavy gear
Osh rules I could understand being used in this case. I can understand Doc closing areas for conservation purposes but struggle to see if they have authority to close an area for maintenance. Otherwise places like the blue slip on the Smiths Creek track would attract $100000 fines for each of the 1000s that ignore the track closed sign there If the guy above had been hiking he could of said he sidled around the work site but its difficult to do that on a bike. How many of us have ignored track closed signs? We are all breaking that rule
Conservation Act 1997 Looks like its legal to close areas so long as it was ordered by someone with the correct delegated authority of the minister and signage is sufficient and the management plan or cms permits/mandates closure. http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1987/0065/latest/DLM104265.html 13 Conservation areas may be closed (1) The Minister may— (a) if requested to do so under section 24H(7) or if any conservation management strategy or conservation management plan relating to any conservation area provides for its closure in whole or in part for conservation purposes, to public entry, close the area or any part of it to public entry in accordance with the strategy or plan; and (b) to the extent only that the conservation of any natural or historic resource of a conservation area for which there is no conservation management strategy or conservation management plan requires the closure of the area to public entry, close the area to public entry; and (c) for reasons of public safety or emergency close any conservation area to public entry;— and during the closure no person not authorised to do so by the Director-General shall remain in or enter the area. (2) For so long as a conservation area is closed under subsection (1), the Director-General shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that members of the public are made aware of the closure and the reasons for it.
1 deleted post from madpom
Yeah I don't know what the OSH laws would be. That might be what counts here. DOC can use this to keep people out of structures, like huts, that are under construction. Can it do the same for wider areas of land? Maybe there's some untested legal stuff around that. As for conservation-specific laws, I think section 13 of the Conservation Act only covers Conservation Areas, which encompasses Conservation Parks and Stewardship Land and Marginal Strips and a few other bits and pieces. It doesn't cover National Parks, as National Parks are NOT Conservation Areas. Neither are Reserves (administered under the Reserves Act). Is the whole walk in the National Park or is there a fringe within something else that this might be referring to? For National Parks, the National Parks Act guarantees public access to the whole park by default. To restrict access there's s56 of the NPA which allows the Minister to create bylaws to enable areas in parks to be closed for various reasons, including public safety. Most National Parks have a set of bylaws, and many have bylaws which allow closing for certain reasons. eg. Here's Kahurangi's section on Access: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/2009/0014/latest/whole.html#DLM3693553 It's all meant to be consistent with the Management Plans, but I've personally struggled to find any clear guidance in management plans about how a Minister or DOC should be considering any closure. But interestingly enough Paparoa National Park doesn't have any bylaws. Seemingly nobody's gotten around to making any yet? It'll probably be reviewed soon, because it's the bylaws in all the other parks that govern the camping restrictions within 500 metres of Great Walk tracks. (The Freedom Camping Act also, for some reason, separately prohibits camping within 200 metres of any Great Walk, but funnily enough still doesn't include the Pike29 track in its Schedule 1 definition of what's considered a Great Walk.) I'm not a lawyer. If someone can show me where I'm wrong, if I am, then I'll learn something.
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Another way it might be controversially closable is if the walk had been declared a Walkway under the Walking Access Act 2008. Section 38 of that Act has a process for controlling authorities to close walkways, including for safety reasons or for maintenance and development. That'd have required it to be declared a walkway in the Gazette, though, and there doesn't seem to be any declaration of it when searching the Gazette for Land Notices under the Walking Access Act: https://gazette.govt.nz/notice/NoticeSearch/?dateEnd=09-12-2019&noticeType=ln&act=Walking+Access+Act
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The closed bit or certainly the majority of it is on the part of the walk that is in National Park! There was a bit of a scare a month or so back when trampers emerged in part of the closed area when blasting was about to take place hence DOC is a bit sensitive about things. A mate was contacted to ask if it was him (it was not) but we were told to stay clear of that area as DOC know we've been keeping an eye on progress and roamed the area since before the additional bits of track were started.
Update: FMC posted a thing to Facebook which referenced this notice from DOC: https://www.fmc.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Extension-of-Paparoa-Track-Closure.pdf The notice implies the closure is under s51A, which seems *very* generic for restricting access. http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1980/0066/latest/whole.html#DLM3102304 It allows the Minister to authorise activities and impose terms and conditions on them. The line of authority seems questionable to me given we're supposedly authorised to enter National Parks without Minister authorisation anyway, but there you go.
Yes. I'd read that section as the minister can allow person x or organisation y to do an unusual 'thing' not permitted elsewhere in the act. As part of that permit the minister can impose conditions on person 'x' and organisation 'y' whilst they do it. Ie the conditions are supposed to be imposed on the person/organisation being given a permit to do an unusual 'thing' not on the public in general doing what the act already allows them to do (eg tramp). It really does not read as if the intent of the paragraph was to limit other people from doing stuff the act already allows them to do.
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Forum The campfire
Started by geeves
On 6 December 2019
Replies 10
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