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High Country Chair Elected

South Island High Country Committee

Rakaia gorge farmer Ben Todhunter has been elected chairman of the South Island High Country Committee, replacing retiring chairman John Davis.

The high country committee is an industry group of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc), and represents the interests of high country farmers.

Mr Todhunter is a former high country committee vice chairman. His family runs Cleardale and Lake Heron stations in the Rakaia gorge, with 21,000 stock units and four stud operations involving Angus, Merino, English Leicester and Halfbred.

Mr Todhunter's family has been farming in the Rakaia Gorge area since the 1920’s. His great grandfather helped set up the high country committee and was a driving force behind the 1948 Land Act, which established security of tenure for Crown pastoral leases.

"The current Government has created uncertainty for High Country families around the security of their pastoral leases and public access over their properties," Mr Todhunter said.

"These are two key issues that I will concentrate on at the start of my term as chair."

Mr Todhunter has a Bachelor of Commerce (Agriculture) majoring in farm management from Lincoln University, and was awarded a Rugby scholarship to University College, Dublin, where he completed an MBA in 1992.

He was selected as a Kellogg Scholar in 1999. A keen skier and mountain climber who has scaled Mt Cook, Mr Todhunter is married to Donna. They have four young children.

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