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Call for government action on access rules to prevent repeat of death on Muriwai Beach

A vehicle at Muriwai Beach. File photo Photo: The Detail/Sharon Brettkelly

Councils need greater powers to limit access to beaches to prevent tragedies such as Sunday's death, a local board chair says.

Rodney local board chair Brent Bailey was speaking after a person died when a vehicle rolled on Muriwai Beach in West Auckland about 2.40pm on Sunday.

Auckland City Hospital said today two people injured in the crash have now been discharged. They are two men in their 20s.

Meanwhile, police are continuing to investigate the incident but are refusing to reveal any information about the victim.

Bailey said it was time for "some leadership" from central government so that local boards could make rules around access, speed limits and managing behaviour, "because it's incredibly complex legislatively to change access to the regional park".

He said Muriwai covered a very large area and had several entry points so it was difficult for park staff to manage access by various groups.

Swimmers, surfers, fishermen, equestrian riders, and people working on ecological restoration all used the beach area.

As Auckland's population continued to increase the ability to supervise them decrease, he told Morning Report.

"What we'd really like to happen is to try and manage these conflicts [between various users] in a way that ensures everyone is safe."

Decision-making regarding access to the park lay with the mayor, councillors and Auckland Transport.

Bailey said speed limits existed but were "impossible" to enforce because people were largely unsupervised in such a huge area.

"Local authorities would like greater legislative opportunity to manage and monitor how people interact with the environment and each other."

He added: "What we need is to control access and we need to say that only licensed people can access the beach for legitimate reasons and wholesale unsupervised access is going to have to be a thing of the past."

Swimmers, surfers, fishermen, equestrian riders, and people working on ecological restoration all used the beach area.

It was also a sensitive coastal area, he said.

"The dunes are taking over and threatening private property and the golf course and we've got to keep vehicles off them because they destroy the vegetation."

His advice was for motorists to "slow down".

"Speed and inexperience compound to make things difficult and dangerous."

In 2015 four people had died when a vehicle cartwheeled and its unrestrained passengers were thrown out.

There had been another fatality and several people had been injured in the years since before the weekend tragedy.

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