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Would you pay to go on Ninety Mile Beach? User charges on the cards


The idea of free unlimited fun in the sun on one of Northland's most popular beaches could soon be a thing of the past.

A car driving along Ninety Mile Beach. Source: Seven Sharp

Local Maori are considering introducing a number of changes including user pay fees along Ninety Mile Beach.

Far North Iwi, Te Rarawa, will soon have shared governance of the coastline following an estimated $70 million dollar settlement deal with the Crown.

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Spokesperson, Abe Witana says, "it's not all about money, it's about preserving the environment, the uniqueness that we have up here in Te Hiku."

He says the fee system could work anywhere from a Koha system or gold coin donation to a concession type arrangement with commercial tourism operators.

Te Rarawa are setting up a governance board which will oversee a management plan of its beaches for when the settlement deal with the Crown passes legislation. The Far North District council and the Nortland Regional Council with have members on the board.

Far North Mayor, John Carter, says it's too early to say whether they would support beach fees.

"I'm sure there will be different views on how that (beach management plan) should be developed but it's a community including iwi and all these developments are taking part and everybody's involved in it so we'll just see how that develops but I'm sure at the end of the day it'll be something that we all want".

There are mixed views from the locals.

"Paying for it? We're not American it's as simple as that."

"I don't think locals should have to pay but tourists.. Yeah I think that's fair enough".

Other changes are likely to include restrictions on beaches including a total ban of vehicles.

The Far North District Council is already working on introducing a bylaw which will see all vehicles on Coopers Beach banned along with lower speed restrictions along Ninety Mile Beach.

Mr Carter says it's about reducing conflict on the beach and protecting the safety of the public. He says they're supportive of other restrictions that will protect the beachgoers and the coastline.