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National lost in High Country

23 February 2005

National lost in High Country

National's South Island high country policy removes choice for farmers and promotes taxpayers getting a poor return.

National governments in the 1990s wanted to get rid of high country leases altogether as a matter of policy. National now seems opposed to taxpayers getting a fair financial return on the leases.

By contrast to National, this government believes in offering leaseholders a full range of choices, and in taxpayers getting a fair return.

That is why this government is offering farmers the choice to continue to lease high country land, and why the government is looking at the implications of introducing market rents for high country leases. These would apply when rents are reviewed every 11 years.

Not even the body representing high country leaseholders, the High Country Accord, opposes them paying fair market rents.

Many farmers have obtained freehold title to previously leased land through the tenure review process under this government. This same process has also seen land being put into high country parks for all New Zealanders to enjoy.

"This is about choice, fairness and opportunity. This government promotes choice for leaseholders and a fair return for taxpayers and the opportunity for more New Zealanders to enjoy our beautiful high country," says Land Information Minister, Pete Hodgson.

"Only National wants to remove choice for leaseholders, continue with rents set below market levels, and take away the option for land to be turned into parks."


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