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Transfer of Molesworth Station A Tragedy

Transfer of Molesworth Station A Tragedy

Thursday 18 Dec 2003 Gerry Eckhoff Press Releases -- Rural

The Labour Government's decision to hand control of Molesworth Station over to the Conservation Department in 2005 is a tragedy for one of New Zealand's most iconic farming properties, ACT New Zealand Rural Affair Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff said today.

"Molesworth Station is a marvellous working example of how conservation and production can be integrated into a very successful commercial operation," Mr Eckhoff said.

"The Government's announcement beggars belief. It signals a massive change in the way Molesworth will be managed. It's a dumb decision. It would be like DoC-administered Kapiti Island - known for its ecological values - being handed to Landcorp to manage: it wouldn't happen, and nor should the reverse.

"Where was Rural Affairs Minister Jim Sutton when this decision was made? He should have been advocating for the retention of Molesworth's farming values. Mr Sutton's silence on the issue is deafening.

"This transfer to DoC's control, once again illustrates former Forest and Bird conservation director Kevin Smith's pervasive power within Conservation Minister Chris Carter's office.

"Today's decision marks the end of a fine era in New Zealand's farming history. It's nothing more than pure self-indulgence on behalf of Prime Minister Helen Clark, who views rural New Zealand as nothing more than a playground, for herself and extreme elements within the preservation lobby," Mr Eckhoff said.

ENDS


For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.


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