Grey District Mayor hits out Forest and Bird's e-bike stance on new Paparoa Track

Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn says he's frustrated at Forest and Bird for its stance on electric bikes on the West Coast's new Paparoa Track.

But Forest and Bird says it doesn't have a policy on e-bikes, and is supporting the Department of Conservation's (DoC) approach to managing the new Great Walk.

Kokshoorn told The AM Show on Wednesday it was a "shame" e-bikes weren't going to be allowed on the track.

"Forest and Bird have got to understand we've made big sacrifices down here over the past eight years."

From the Paparoa Track, the Pike29 Memorial Track leads to the site of the former Pike River Mine.

"If they [Forest and Bird] want us to stop mining coal, and move away from coal, they need to collaborate with us," Kokshoorn told The AM Show.

A management strategy for the West Coast also prohibits helicopters in the park, Stuff reports.

"They need to make sure that we have got e-bikes, and we have got helicopter access," Kokshoorn said.

"At the moment they're [Forest and Bird] not collaborating, which is disappointing,"

Forest and Bird West Coast regional manager Nicky Snoyink told Newshub the intent set out in the Paparoa National Park Management Plan was that e-bikes may be considered in the future.

Snoyink cited page 50 of the management plan which says, "The use of electric power-assisted pedal cycles (e-bikes) is a relatively new activity and their use on the Pike 29 Memorial track and the Paparoa Track may be considered by way of a partial review of this plan".

Kokshoorn said e-bikes were "the way of the future".

"It keeps people on their bikes for longer - the older people, the baby boomers coming through; they're big on e-bikes.

"These e-bikes will keep them going across the 55km tracks, which are quite hard in places."

DoC heritage and visitors director Steve Taylor said the track would be New Zealand's 10th Great Walk.

The "stunning" track is due to open on December 1, he said.

"The Paparoa Track has been designed to be used by both mountain bikers and walkers and you can secure your place on this brand-new experience from Wednesday [June 12]."