• A sublime day on the Milford Track.
    A sublime day on the Milford Track.

DOC’s controversial media permits have been dropped, reports NZ's Wilderness magazine.

The permits, which required the media to go through an application process before interviewing, photographing and filming on conservation land, faced considerable backlash from New Zealand media.

DOC’s Michael Slater said the permits have been waived on the basis that media activity is low impact in areas where the general public is allowed free access.

“A review has found the rules around media permits were not fit for purpose given the advent of digital tools like mobile phones where visitors are curating their own experiences and sharing them on various web platforms,” Slater said.

“It also found the process for acquiring consent for the media was overly bureaucratic and unworkable for both the media and DOC staff.”

Any trade or business on conservation land must have a concession, but media representatives – including Wilderness – argued their actions are in the public interest, and should therefore be able to go where the general public goes.

“DOC agrees and has changed its policy to treat media access as if they are the public, freely accessing public conservation land,” Slater said.

“That means media no longer require media permits in low impact situations where the public are allowed free access.”

Media will still need to permission to access wilderness areas that are closed to the public or to fly drones on conservation land.

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