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Campaign To Stop Freedom To Roam

Campaign To Stop Freedom To Roam

ACT New Zealand Rural Affairs Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff today promised to battle the Labour Government's moves to abolish the rights of New Zealand landowners, with a campaign to stop freedom to roam.

"This is an opportunity to awaken the sleeping giant of rural New Zealand. A chance for rural landowners to show their anger and frustration at the continuing abuse of property rights over the last decade," said Mr Eckhoff.

"This insult to rural New Zealand, which has always been a driving force for the country's economy, cannot go unchallenged. The Government is trying remove the rights of landowners to decide how they use their property. I propose to solicit support throughout the country by holding public meetings to ensure the voice of rural New Zealand is heard.

"Rural Affairs Minister Jim Sutton has certainly proven his worth with the formation of a group to investigate public access to private farmland. Time and again he has proven himself unfit to represent rural New Zealand.

"This time his actions will have far-reaching consequences. As Rural Affairs Minister, Mr Sutton should know the dangers of allowing the public unfettered access to farmland.

"Farmers and rural landowners have long been known for their generosity with their land. It is not uncommon for trampers or sightseers to be given permission to wander around privately owned land. Now, however, Mr Sutton deems it fit to remove the landowners' right to choose who enters their property.

"As Rural Minister, Mr Sutton should also understand the dangers that random wanderers pose to both the land and livestock. The UK's devastating foot-and-mouth catastrophe is believed to have been caused by human foot traffic - as is the recent bovine beef measles outbreak near Dannevirke.

"It is high time that Mr Sutton, and the Labour Government, realised that they cannot simply offer such an affront to rural New Zealand and expect to get away with it. For too long, Labour has claimed to have driven the economy when, in actuality, vast benefits have been generated by New Zealand's rural industries.

"This is a fundamental attack on our way of life, and rural New Zealand will not stand it any longer. It is time for rural New Zealand awaken to this real and obvious threat to our way of life," said Mr Eckhoff.

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