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Labour’s high country land grab

Labour’s high country land grab

National’s Conservation spokesman, Simon Power, says Labour is forcing high country farmers off their land by manipulating the Land Tenure Review process.

The Government has announced that it is looking at changing the terms of high country leases and upping their rents. Currently, three million hectares, or about 10% of New Zealand’s land, is locked up in high country leases.

Mr Power says Labour and the Department of Conservation are hell-bent on nationalising the South Island’s high country.

“To move in this direction in mid-negotiation defies the concept of good faith bargaining, a concept Labour has promoted in legislation like the Employment Relations Act. This seems to be a very cynical move to manipulate the bargaining process.

“Public ownership is not the only option for this land. In fact, it should be a last resort. The use of covenants as a flexible tool is an option that has been shut out by Chris Carter and Labour.

“The Department of Conservation has already proven itself to be a lousy landowner, slapping a padlock on the gate of Birchwood Station immediately after buying it in the name of public access.

“DoC is struggling to perform its core responsibility of looking after our endangered flora and fauna. Labour should be more concerned with figures that show 77% of endangered species aren’t being effectively protected by DoC than buying farms in the South Island.

“Until DoC gets its own house in order, it should keep its nose out of, what is effectively, other people’s business,” says Mr Power.

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