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Govt land grab will destroy Molesworth

David Carter National Agriculture Spokesman

4 December 2003

Govt land grab will destroy Molesworth

The Government's decision to put Molesworth Station under Department of Conservation control will destroy the country's best-known high country station, says National's Agriculture spokesman David Carter.

He was commenting on answers given by Land Information New Zealand officials at today's Primary Production select committee.

"When I asked what LINZ's role in Molesworth's future would be, they avoided answering, telling me the matter is currently before Cabinet," says Mr Carter.

"I then asked when Molesworth's future would be known, and I was told an announcement would be made by the Government before Christmas.

"It is now obvious the Government will place Molesworth under DOC control when its lease to Landcorp expires in June 2005.

"And as any high country farmer would tell you, any suggestion of putting Molesworth Station under DOC control spells disaster for a profitable farming business," Mr Carter says.

"DOC already carries the tag of being the most irresponsible landowner in New Zealand. Unlike private landowners, it doesn't control gorse and broom on the boundaries of its properties. Any farmer who farms next to DOC land will tell you weed and pest control is almost non-existent.

"Molesworth currently spends $250,000 per year on weed control for 180,000 hectares, that's $1.38 a hectare. DOC spends less than 20 cents a hectare for weed control in the South Island," says Mr Carter.

Ends

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