Farmer Freddy finds out about paper roads
Farmer Freddy and his paper road
Farmer Freddy was rather out of breath when he picked up the phone to ring Pebbles to discuss his latest legal problem.
"What's wrong Dad?" asked Pebbles. "You sound as if you've just run a marathon!"
"Well that's what it feels like," replied Freddy. "I've been out chasing some loons who were cutting across the farm to get further up the valley. I'm fed up with people trespassing on my land!"
"Hold your horses Dad, "replied Pebbles. "Isn't there a paper road that goes up there somewhere?"
"Well I do recall the old man - your granddad that is - mentioning that to me a long time ago," said Freddy. "But what difference does that make? A paper road's not a real road is it?"
"It is actually, Dad" said Pebbles. "If there is a paper road up there, people have the same right to pass along it as on any other public road so you can't stop people from using it. When blocks were first being surveyed in the 19th century, roads were marked out on survey plans. I suppose the Government wanted to protect access for future developments. Lots of those roads have never been any more than a line on a survey plan, but they are still legal roads."
"But I don't even know where the road is," said Freddy. "How can I find out?"
"You could look at the farm's certificate of title, and the underlying survey," suggested Freddy. "But it might be easier to go to www.wams.org.nz - that's the Walking Access Commission's Walking Access Mapping System. However, it may be necessary to talk to a surveyor to get an exact fix on it."
"Does that mean that the Council could build a formed road up there, then?" asked Freddy.
"Sure does Dad," said Pebbles. "But, to be fair, it's probably pretty unlikely that they would unless demand for access up there goes through the roof. The Council's probably considers its got enough roads to manage without forming any more."
"And how can I stop people interfering with the stock?" asked Freddy.
"Well Dad," replied Pebbles, "you can fence the paddocks off from the road, but that's a pretty expensive option. If you get permission from the Council, you can also put gates or cattle-stops across the road. You can't lock such a gate though and you're supposed to have a sign on the gate stating that it is a public road."
"So, I can keep grazing the stock on it then?" asked Freddy.
"That is how many of these roads are managed, Dad" replied Pebbles. "After all, it's estimate there are over 50,000 kilometres of paper roads around the country. In lots of cases, it will be easier for all concerned if the adjacent land owner does graze or manage it. If you are concerned though, you should talk to your local council as they own it, and have the power to control paper roads. Remember though, the fact that you might use it, doesn't mean that you own the road."
"So I can't hog the road then," quipped Freddy.
"No Dad, you cannot," joked Pebbles. "Unlike when you drive on most formed roads around here!"