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Farmers the best stewards of the land

Gavan Herlihy National Agriculture Spokesperson

7 June 2002

Farmers the best stewards of the land

National has, today, unveiled a component of its agriculture policy that places emphasis on farmers protecting and enhancing New Zealand's clean, green image.

National's Agriculture spokesman, Gavan Herlihy told Federated Farmers' South Island High Country conference that his party favoured a more grassroots approach to protecting the environment.

"Enhancing the rural environment is best progressed by those who know, understand and depend on the land - our farmers.

"We'll achieve better environmental results from this approach with farmers proactively driving change, rather than having them continually subjected to demands by local and central government or from environmental groups such as Forest and Bird or Fish and Game."

Mr Herlihy says National will strengthen the Landcare movement by increasing the number of regional co-ordinators to 20. He says this will help facilitate greater farmer involvement in tackling their own environmental challenges.

National will also increase resourcing for the QEII Trust and the Nature Heritage Fund and work in partnership with farmers to better recognise their private property rights.

"This creates a win/win situation for both farmers and the community.

"There have been too many instances, in the past, where farmers' private property rights have been violated through mechanisms such as district plans.

"National wants to help preserve areas of land deemed of significant value by the community while, at the same time, recognising the property rights of farmers whose land may be involved," Mr Herlihy explained.

Ends

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