28 Sep 2018

Hunter Valley dispute: Matt Lauer agrees to give public better access

1:34 pm on 28 September 2018

An agreement has been hammered out to ease the way for trampers to access American Matt Lauer's Hunter Valley Station.

Matt Lauer and Hunter Valley Station

Matt Lauer bought the lease for $13 million last year. Photo: RNZ

Mr Lauer bought the lease for $13 million last year and since then trampers had complained about not being allowed to travel across the station to the Hāwea Conservation Park.

Now Mr Lauer's company, Orange Lakes, has agreed to allow up to six four-wheel drive vehicles a day on the land between December and April.

They would have to fill out a form that would be made available on the Department of Conservation and Hunter Valley Station websites, and pay a $35 fee.

The money would be used to help with the upkeep of the access road.

In the wake of the agreement, the New Zealand Walking Access Commission had agreed to place on hold its application for an easement over the land as a way to grant access to recreational users.

The public would continue to be allowed on the land by foot and on mountain bikes year round apart from during lambing between October and December.

Federated Mountain Clubs was welcoming the agreement.

Its president Peter Wilson said this was a vast improvement on the previous system.

"Members of the public would ring up and it would go to an answer phone and some people would get a call back and some people wouldn't. So some people were getting access and other people were not. This has now clarified all of the obligations on all parties, the public and the landowner."

He anticipated huge interest from those wanting to access the park.

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