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Clark, Anderton must explain tenure review motives

Hon David Carter MP
National Party Agriculture Spokesman
16 November 2006

Clark, Anderton must explain tenure review motives

A Cabinet paper shows Labour wants to cut the cost of tenure review by increasing rentals so the leases are worth substantially less when the Government comes to buy them out, says National Agriculture spokesman David Carter.

High country farmers are facing rental hikes after the Labour Government proposed including ‘amenity values’ in the rentals, a move that flies in the face of the Armstrong Report.

“But it appears Helen Clark and Jim Anderton are saying one thing at Cabinet, and another to farmers if today’s farming column in the Dominion Post is to be believed,” says Mr Carter.

The column says Federated Farmers has been told by Labour that the rental increases are ‘not a done deal’ and that Helen Clark and Jim Anderton were ‘speaking out against it in Cabinet meetings’.

“If that’s the case, why does a Cabinet minute - sent to Helen Clark and Jim Anderton - clearly outline Labour’s real motives?”

The legally privileged minute, available on the Land Information NZ website, says: ‘Concerns have been raised that the Crown is receiving rental from lessees at a level that does not fairly reflect the value of the land and that the Crown when participating in tenure reviews is forced to pay a premium for land returned to full Crown ownership…’

“This clearly shows Labour’s motive is to drive up rentals in order to drive down the eventual cost of tenure review deals,” says Mr Carter.

“It also calls into question the suggestion that Helen Clark and Jim Anderton are speaking out at Cabinet meetings. If so, they have been ignored.

“The Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister appear to be sitting on the fence on this issue and talking out of both sides of their mouths. They should front up to farmers and say what they really mean.”

ENDS

Attached: Cabinet Minute on pastoral lease valuations

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