Rights of access to land for outdoor recreation in New Zealand: Dilemmas concerning justice and equity
Curry, N. (2001) Rights of access to land for outdoor recreation in New Zealand: Dilemmas concerning justice and equity. Journal of Rural Studies, 17 (4). pp. 409-419. ISSN 0743-0167
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0743-0167(01)00020-1
Rights of access to land for outdoor recreation are of current concern to many western governments. They require a balance to be struck between collective rights to the land and individual rights of exclusion. Theories of land rights have limitations in informing the appropriate apportionment of such rights for recreational access since they emanate from such a disparate range of cultural and philosophical positions and invariably they are based on the productive attributes of the land. Collectively, such theories do offer a number of characteristics that might inform land rights apportionment for access: historically determined justice, contemporary justice through citizenship, distributional equity, intergenerational equity and economic efficiency. These characteristics are explored in the context of the development of recreational access rights in New Zealand. Whilst notions of justice can be seen to be transgressed in land rights structures imposed through European settlement, these structures themselves were founded on notions of equity as a direct result of the loss of access rights in 19th Century England. The reassertion of Maori land rights compromises both distributional and intergenerational equity but may make a contribution to economic efficiency as well as re-establishing historically determined justice. The case study illustrates inherent dilemmas in rights apportionment for access to land for outdoor recreation where ultimately it may not be possible to achieve any consensual outcome.