Mandatory review underway of the Walking Access Act 2008

Media contact: MPI media team
Telephone: 029 894 0328

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has begun a review of the Walking Access Act 2008.

MPI will be assessing the Act and whether it still provides the access needed to New Zealand's outdoors – land, bush, mountains, rivers, coasts, and areas of cultural significance.

"New Zealand is lucky to have such beautiful natural resources all around us," says MPI director of environment and communities, Charlotte Denny.

"New Zealanders love to get outdoors and want to have access to a range of places to walk, bike, hunt, swim, surf, and boat, whether in town, in rural areas or further afield.

"Under the Act, a review must be undertaken after 10 years. Our review will look at whether the Act is fit for the future, and what improvements are needed.

"As part of the review, we'll be meeting with a number of stakeholders in December 2018 to do some early scoping of the issues, and consult with the public in April/May 2019 to get their views on how the Act could be improved," Ms Denny says.


The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) will lead the review as it is responsible for administering the Act. MPI will work with a panel of 3 people, chaired by Dr Hugh Logan, to complete the review by September 2019. The panel has experience in public access to the outdoors, Māori access issues, and government.

About Dr Logan

Dr Logan has had wide experience at national, regional, and local levels that involve major outdoor access stakeholders. This includes environmental, conservation, primary industry, local government, and recreation organisations. He has worked as chief executive for the Ministry for the Environment and the Department of Conservation. 

He has considerable experience in multi-stakeholder processes at national level, for example chairing the Land and Water Forum. He has also been involved in community-level local groups, including the Mackenzie Trust and the Canterbury Mountaineering Club.

Questions and answers

What is the Walking Access Act 2008 about?

The purpose of the Act is to provide the New Zealand public with free, certain, enduring, and practical walking access to the outdoors.  It is also the piece of legislation that established the New Zealand Walking Access Commission.

What does the New Zealand Walking Access Commission do?

The Commission leads and supports the negotiation, establishment, maintenance, and improvement of walking access and other associated types of access, such as cycling, horse trekking, 4 wheel driving, hunting and fishing.  The Commission works with private landowners, local government, the Department of Conservation and others to carry out this work.

Why is the Walking Access Act 2008 being reviewed now?

The Act says there must be a review at the 10-year mark.

What is the main objective for the review?

To make sure that the Act is fit for the future.

What will the review consider?

The review will consider whether the Act is needed, the operation and effectiveness of the Act, and whether changes to the Act are necessary or desirable.  For more detail see the terms of reference for the review.

Who will carry out the review?

MPI is leading this review, as it is responsible for administering the Walking Access Act 2008.  A panel of 3 people, chaired by Dr Hugh Logan, will provide guidance on the review to MPI.  The panel has experience in public access matters, Māori access issues and the public sector.

When can I have my say?

MPI will hold public engagement in April and May 2019.  We’ll provide further details early next year.  In the meantime, feel free to email the review team at

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