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Policies2018-12-11T15:29:16+00:00

Policies

The current FMC policies were approved by the Exec on 30 June 2018.

You can download a printable .pdf file here.


Introduction

Federated Mountain Clubs’ kaupapa is the freedom of the hills. It is the pull of nature’s mauri/lifeforce and mana, the rights and responsibilities and joy of belonging. From its close canyons to its open tops, our whenua/land is part of who we are, have been, and will be, as individuals and as a people.

Since 1931, FMC has stood for nature and tangata maunga. Our pou/pillars are our steadfast history and the laws that govern Aotearoa’s wild places; particularly, the Conservation Act 1987, the National Parks Act 1980, the Reserves Act 1977, the Land Act 1948, the Crown Pastoral Land Act 1998, and the Resource Management Act 1991. Our activities and locations can bring other statutes into play.

Additional to these laws of the land, FMC embraces the concept of Wild Law, which honours the fullness and sovereignty of nature, from its smallest fragments to its immeasurable combined forces. We acknowledge that we are part, only, of te Ao/the Earth.

FMC has developed the following policies on a range of matters.*

* Where an issue is relevant to several areas (for example, concessions are relevant to Commercial use, Department of Conservation funding, and Tourism policies), it is dealt with directly once only in this document.

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Access

The backcountry and the recreation that takes place there are at the heart of Aotearoa’s nationhood. Therefore:

  1. FMC recognises the mauri/life force and mana of Aotearoa’s wild places.
  2. all New Zealanders should have free and enabling access to all public land.
  3. FMC supports development of a national policy statement on recreational access.
  4. FMC values the ethos of ‘nature on nature’s terms’.
  5. connectivity of public land should be advanced.
  6. where land under non-public tenure, including Crown pastoral lease, separates public land from public access then, following consultation, provision should be made for the public to gain access to the public land.
  7. when land or a lease is sold to overseas interests, excellent and enduring public access to any public land beyond should be created.
  8. where part of a Crown pastoral lease going through tenure review has sufficiently high conservation values, redesignation as public conservation land will be sought; where conservation values are not sufficiently high for redesignation as public conservation land and redesignation as freehold is appropriate, public access to any public land beyond will be sought.
  9. FMC affirms that legally surveyed roads are public land regardless of whether they are formed and that they are for the use of the public.
  10. the Queen’s chain (marginal strips and esplanade strips) should be completed.
  11. track construction and maintenance should provide usable facilities with the least possible impact on the land and the landscape, and should encourage intimacy with the environment.
  12. where a biosecurity threat leads to access restriction, the area and period of that restriction should be guided by science.

Confirmed June 2018
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Commercial Use of Public Land

Conservation and Aotearoa’s recreation values are priorities. Commercial use of public land is a privilege. Therefore:

  1. FMC recognises that the whenua’s/land’s intrinsic values, including natural quiet, are of highest importance.
  2. only those commercial pest control activities with efficiency and conservation outcomes equal to those of the Department of Conservation or other public agencies performing pest control should be allowed.
  3. commercial activities that facilitate New Zealanders’ recreational enjoyment have an important role in the backcountry.
  4. concessions for tourism on public land should be granted only where their activities can’t be undertaken elsewhere.
  5. crowding, as perceived by New Zealanders, should not be exacerbated by tourist concessionary activity.
  6. infrastructure should be able to support concessionary activity without augmentation.
  7. any new infrastructure should not encourage crowding.
  8. where commercial activities take place on public land, exclusive use of areas or public facilities should never be allowed.
  9. FMC affirms that in Wilderness Areas, aircraft landings are unacceptable except for emergency and biodiversity management purposes and that overflights should be kept to an absolute minimum.
  10. mining is unacceptable in national parks or Wilderness Areas. In other areas, mining concession applications should be treated on a case-by-case basis.
  11. statutory management plans, which among other things guide commercial use, are developed through public consultation in good faith and should prevail.
  12. concession fees should be sufficient to cover concessions’ administration, monitoring, and enforcement, and to contribute appropriately to the health of the whenua/land they take advantage of.
  13. the Department of Conservation should consult with FMC on any matters concerning huts, tracks, and access on public land.

Confirmed June 2018
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Department of Conservation Funding

The Department of Conservation should be appropriately funded to properly carry out its responsibilities. Therefore:

  1. as a core public service, the Department of Conservation should be funded by ‘Vote Conservation’.
  2. the key role of the conservation estate in tourism and the contribution of tourism to Crown revenue, notably through GST, are further reasons for fully funding the Department of Conservation through Vote Conservation.
  3. funding for the Department of Conservation should be increased, particularly at the ‘hands-on’ level and for landscape-scale predator control.
  4. FMC is agreeable to a border tax, on the basis that it is an efficient mechanism for collecting revenue, but does not believe it would increase funding for conservation in the longer term. Border taxes may be better directed into local government tourism infrastructure.
  5. charges for access to public conservation land, including for use of tracks or bridges, are inappropriate.
  6. there should be no differential charging as it has potential to be inefficient and harmful to a welcoming culture.
  7. FMC is opposed to any conservation law reform that would alienate public conservation land to increase revenue or allow damage caused by concession activity to be allowed and off-set rather than prevented.
  8. FMC would consider traffic management strategies on a case-by-case basis, though considers there are other means of managing supply and demand such as infrastructure, publicity, transport, and the recreational opportunities network.

Confirmed June 2018

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Large-scale Environmental Issues

Climate disruption and loss of biodiversity threaten the health of te Ao/the Earth and our whenua/land. Accordingly:

  1. FMC will advocate for conservation and other natural values legislation, policy, and planning that will reverse biodiversity loss.
  2. FMC will advocate for conservation and other natural values legislation, policy, and planning that will reduce carbon emissions.

Confirmed June 2018

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Facilities (Private, and Community-built)

FMC recognises that there is a long and ongoing tradition of community-led and public-private track and hut building on public land. It has, and is continuing to, contribute to non-commercial recreation. Therefore:

  1. FMC is supportive of clubs, other groups, and individuals voluntarily looking after existing tracks and huts.
  2. FMC supports volunteers’ use of initiatives such as the Backcountry Trust (formerly the Outdoor Recreation Consortium) to help them maintain, and potentially build, tracks and huts on public land.
  3. FMC encourages collaboration between volunteers and the Department of Conservation (or other relevant agency) on construction where volunteers propose building new tracks.
  4. tracks on public land must be freely accessible to all.
  5. appropriate maintenance budgets should be assured prior to construction of new tracks or huts by community groups or public-private partnerships.
  6. non-commercial privately-built huts on public land should be readily available for public
  7. fees for use of non-commercial privately-built huts on public land should be similar to those charged for similar public huts.

Confirmed June 2018

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Fostering the Outdoor Community

Advocacy and awhinatanga (mentoring; guidance and support) are vital to the sustenance and development of Aotearoa’s backcountry recreational whanui. Accordingly:

  1. tramping and its core skills, which are foundational to backcountry endeavour generally, should be promoted.
  2. mentoring in bushcraft and backcountry health and safety, etiquette, technical skills, and lore should be enabled.
  3. whanui members are vital to backcountry mentoring.
  4. all New Zealanders should be encouraged to be involved in backcountry recreation.
  5. all young New Zealanders should be given practical opportunities to experience, and develop in, backcountry recreation.
  6. new backcountry pursuits that respect the whenua/land (including natural quiet) and other recreationists should be supported.
  7. the outdoor community has a kaitiaki (guardianship of the whenua/land) role.
  8. FMC embraces the whakatauki: ko au ko koe, ko koe ko au (‘I am the environment; what I do to the environment, I do to myself’).
  9. backcountry built structures’ maintenance and network development should be well-planned and supported.

Confirmed June 2018

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Huts and Booking Systems

Hut booking systems have been introduced amid: growing tourism; feedback loops that inflate supply and demand for increasingly domesticated and costly tracks and huts; and perceptions of entitlement to bunks when bookings are made. These influences can be abrasive to the whenua/land and New Zealand recreational communities and use, including aspects of backcountry etiquette. Therefore:

  1. where the points made in FMC’s Tourism – general policy are given effect to and huts are still overcrowded, FMC recognises that booking systems may be used as management tools.
  2. robust data should be gathered to inform decision-making on proposed booking systems, and, where booking systems are adopted, for their monitoring.
  3. it is expected that FMC will be consulted at least four months in advance to enable club comment where new booking systems or changes to existing booking systems are proposed.
  4. booking systems should operate only where occupancy rates indicate need, for example, weekends at certain times of the year.
  5. hut fees should be linked to national cost of provision and should not be increased significantly where a booking system is introduced.
  6. booking systems should be avoided at huts that are key points on longer and/or more challenging routes, for example, Dart Hut.
  7. where inappropriate booking systems have been introduced – for example, at Mueller Hut, where usage doesn’t match its ‘alpine hut’ description – they should be removed.
  8. huts with booking systems should have wardens’ quarters and have resident wardens whenever possible at times when the system is operating.
  9. wardens at huts with booking systems should not impose penalties for unbooked people where they are satisfied that their reasons are robust, for example, injury or weather.
  10. where booking systems have been introduced for huts on tracks that may be travelled in more than one direction, sufficient campsites should be established to cater for people able to book some, but not all, of the tracks’ huts.
  11. booking systems should not generally be linked to locking of huts.
  12. the Backcountry Hut Pass is preferable to night tickets.
  13. the online booking system should recognise annual Backcountry Hut Passes and provide 100% discounts for non-Great Walk huts and 10% discounts on Great Walk huts to their holders.
  14. Department of Conservation and New Zealand Alpine Club co-managed huts in the West Matukituki should be available at New Zealand Alpine Club rates to annual Backcountry Hut Pass holders.
  15. there should be a 30% discount on six-month Backcountry Hut Passes for FMC members (this presently exists on the annual pass only).

Confirmed June 2018

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Land Status

Land classifications should give conservation and recreation values appropriate protection. Therefore:

  1. FMC affirms the objects of Part 2 of the Crown Pastoral Land Act 1998, which allows tenure review, as they prefer reviewable land with strong natural values to be protected by full Crown ownership and control.
  2. FMC affirms the role of the Nature Heritage Fund in protecting indigenous ecosystems, and, hence, extending recreation opportunities.
  3. FMC affirms the purpose of Part 1 of the Overseas Investment Act 2005 (“to acknowledge that it is a privilege for overseas persons to own or control sensitive New Zealand assets by- (a) requiring overseas investments in those assets, before being made, to meet criteria for consent; and (b) imposing conditions on those overseas investments.”) and expects that its spirit and intent will be put into practice.
  4. appropriate and timely reclassification of land presently classified as stewardship (subject of FMC’s Forgotten Lands campaign) should occur; priorities for reclassification should be advised by natural values experts.
  5. where land coming through tenure review is to become public conservation land and is unable to be reclassified immediately (for example, if it will become conservation park), its specific classification should be prepared prior to substantive proposals’ signing and actioned as soon as possible after signing.
  6. FMC supports World Heritage listing for sites that have outstanding universal value and meet at least one of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation’s ten selection criteria.

Confirmed June 2018

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Mountain Bikes

FMC recognises mountain biking as a popular and evolving form of recreation, and supports it on appropriately zoned existing public tracks or purpose-built tracks. Accordingly:

  1. FMC supports public participation in decision-making processes around mountain-bike access to existing tracks and about construction of new mountain-bike-accessible tracks and will, in consultation with member clubs, make submissions on mountain bike issues.
  2. FMC supports recreational mountain bike access to public lands being free of charge.
  3. decisions on appropriateness of mountain bike access should consider the purpose for which land has been set aside.
  4. decisions on appropriateness of mountain bike access should consider ecological, social, and physical effects.
  5. conservation management strategies and management plans should include specific mountain bike policies categorising tracks as non-compatible, conditionally compatible, compatible, or mountain bike priority.
  6. FMC supports Mountain Bike New Zealand’s Mountain Bikers’ Off-road Code and will promote it along with the more general Leave No Trace Code.
  7. ecological, social, and physical impact control measures should be used where needed on tracks. These may include: limits on rider numbers, close-out periods, one-way traffic, compulsory portage sections, weather-based restrictions, speed alerts, bike-only sections, improved drainage, vegetation control, mountain-bike-specific maintenance, use of physical features for speed control, volunteer working bees, signage, and others.
  8. FMC recognises the potential of e-bikes (legally defined as pedal-assisted bicycles with electric motors of 300W or less) for recreation by most people, and that e-bikes may have minimal impact on some tracks such as cycle trails.
  9. FMC supports the use of e-bikes where they replace motorised vehicles.
  10. as e-bike technology and use develop, relationships between e-bike users and others will develop. FMC will seek participation in discussions about e-bike access to tracks on public land.

Confirmed June 2018

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Off-Road Vehicles

Appropriateness of off-road vehicle use on public land is related to its effects on conservation and other recreational values. Accordingly:

  1. where conflict with conservation values (including natural quiet) and/or non-motorised recreational users is likely, FMC opposes the use of off-road, unmanned aerial, and other powered vehicles.
  2. FMC recognises that use of off-road, unmanned aerial, and other powered vehicles is legitimate in some circumstances and should be planned for.
  3. improved education for operators of off-road, unmanned aerial, and other powered vehicles should be established where appropriate.

Confirmed June 2018

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Pest Control

Introduced pests pose existential threats to many of Aotearoa’s native species and ecological communities and wider environment. The quality of outdoor recreation experiences is linked to the health of environments they take place in. Accordingly:

  1. FMC supports evidence-backed use of chemical, biological, and physical (including hunting and trapping) pest controls.
  2. FMC endorses the aims of Predator Free New Zealand.
  3. FMC supports the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s position, expressed in Evaluating the Use of 1080: Predators, poisons, and silent forests (June 2011), backing aerial 1080 to control target pest species in the backcountry.
  4. scientific investigation of pest ecology and existing and alternative pest controls should continue.
  5. investigation into and action on reduction of non-target species by-kill should continue. For certain areas, this may involve deer repellent (recognising that deer repellent’s additional cost may mean less pest control is done).
  6. plans for pest control operations should be made public to inform, and gain the support of, potentially negatively affected parties.

Confirmed June 2018

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Power Generation

The effects of power generation and use on natural and recreational values should be minimal. Therefore:

  1. FMC will oppose power generation proposals in national, conservation, or forest parks.
  2. FMC may identify areas other than national, conservation, or forest parks where power generation would be intrusive.
  3. recreational areas close to large population centres should be kept free of power generation development.
  4. any power generation development should minimise impact on the landscape and the quality of recreational experience.

Confirmed June 2018

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Tourism

Aotearoa’s wild places are at the heart of New Zealand’s non-commercial recreation heritage and its communities. Tourism is a privilege and should defer to the whenua/land, New Zealand citizens and residents and New Zealand recreation. Accordingly:

  1. FMC affirms the Conservation Act 1987’s prioritisation – conservation, then recreation, then tourism.
  2. FMC affirms the National Parks Act 1980’s purpose “of preserving in perpetuity as national parks, for their intrinsic worth and for the benefit, use, and enjoyment of the public, areas of New Zealand that contain scenery of such distinctive quality, ecological systems, or natural features so beautiful, unique, or scientifically important that their preservation is in the national interest.”
  3. protection of natural values, including natural quiet, should be prioritised in our public lands. Ecological, social, and physical impact control measures should be planned for and used where needed.
  4. where demand for access to Aotearoa’s wild places exceeds capacity, and a booking system or other means of controlling numbers is in place or may be implemented, New Zealand citizens and residents should have priority.
  5. facilities in Aotearoa’s wild places should be built and maintained in line with New Zealand’s non-commercial recreation kaupapa. This should include track construction that respects the whenua/land and recreationists’ relationships with it, and modest structures for communal use.
  6. the principle of ‘shelter from the storm’ must be applied in all huts and shelters.
  7. backcountry and other New Zealand outdoor etiquette, including the expectation of social equality, should be promoted and expected.

Confirmed June 2018

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Water / wai

Water/wai is intrinsic to life. Waterbodies are essential features of the New Zealand outdoors and are central to recreation and our identity. Therefore:

  1. FMC recognises the mauri/lifeforce and mana of water/wai and species and communities that depend on it.
  2. all New Zealanders should have access to water/wai for life’s sustenance and recreation and inspiration in our wild places.
  3. waterbodies should have protection appropriate to their values.
  4. water-sequestering and -regulating natural communities – such as tussock grasslands – should be protected or, where they have been degraded, restored.
  5. where water/wai within public land is naturally drinkable, it should remain drinkable.
  6. land use should be oriented to environmental profile.
  7. commercial use of wai/water is a privilege that, if granted, obliges the user to compensate the whenua/land appropriately.
  8. externalities should be assessed and factored into decision-making in commercial water use application processes.
  9. all non-naturally-occurring water contaminants (physical, chemical, biological, and other) should be limited as far as possible, monitored, and eliminated or restricted.

Confirmed June 2018

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Page updated 15 November 2018