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DOC Buying Birchwood-Idealism Out Of Control

Shane Ardern National Conservation Spokesman

26 January 2004

DOC buying Birchwood-idealism out of control

National's Conservation spokesman Shane Ardern says the purchase of Birchwood Station by the Department of Conservation is idealism out of control by an urban-focused socialist Government.

Birchwood Station, covering more than 23,000 hectares of North Otago, was sold to DOC today for $10 million, the most the Government's Nature Heritage Fund has ever spent on a single property.

"Labour believes farming and conservation objectives can't co-exist - in my view that is absolute claptrap.

He says Birchwood is just the start of a Government programme of taking land from profitable farming to create an enormous South Island conservation park.

"At some stage New Zealand is going to have to answer the question; are we an agriculture based export nation or not? If not, what are we going to replace our export dollar with?

Mr Ardern says New Zealand certainly needs policies that conserve the environment, but to achieve this Labour should be working with the farmers, not against them.

"If Labour continues to destroy profitable farming land by giving it to DOC, it spells disaster for our agriculture based export economy.

"Labour wants to turn New Zealand into a national park for Aucklanders to have somewhere to use their four wheel drives," Mr Ardern says.

Ends

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