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Lakeside properties identified for protection

15 November 2007 Media Statement

Lakeside properties identified for protection

Lakeside landscapes in the South Island high country will be protected from inappropriate subdivision and development, under measures announced by Land Information Minister David Parker today.

“These spectacular lakeside landscapes are part of New Zealand’s identity. They must be protected from over-development.”

Tenure review leads to part of a pastoral lease being freeholded, with the rest being restored to full Crown ownership and control as public conservation land.

In June the government announced, in response to concerns, that it would identify lakeside lease properties where it did not favour tenure review proceeding, because it was unlikely that important values would be satisfactorily protected once land was freeholded.

David Parker said today that 65 lakeside properties have been identified, and 38 of these are currently in tenure review.

“Tenure review funding is being withdrawn for the bulk of the 38 properties, which means that these reviews will cease.

“However, a lakeside property might still be considered for tenure review if a lessee is prepared to meet certain conditions, including lakeside land being retained by the Crown, or the lessee accepting restrictions on the land’s future use and development. Also, the cost of completing a review would have to be within Crown funding constraints.

“I do not expect many lakeside lessees will now want to proceed with tenure review, but some may. In fact, I have approved funding of tenure review proposals for two of the 38 lakeside properties because both meet the government’s conditions.”

The Minister also announced today details of how high country lessees can seek a rent adjustment to address recent rent increases.

“Rents for pastoral leases are set every 11 years, and have increased as market demand has driven up land values. The government does not consider that leasehold property should be immune from market forces.

“The government wants to achieve lawful rental outcomes that are fair and reasonable for the lessee, and also for the Crown acting on behalf of the wider New Zealand public.

“At the same time we don’t want to force anyone to give up their lease because the rent is unaffordable.

“To help lessees manage increased rents, the government has agreed they should be able to apply for rent adjustments. These will be considered on a case-by-case basis. In exchange, lessees could offer enduring public access through the land, for example from public roads to lakes, rivers or public conservation land.

“Lessees could also offer activities such as enhanced pest and weed control, erosion control, or cultural heritage protection, beyond what they are currently obliged to do.

“There may be cases where a lessee has a clearly unaffordable rent but nothing of value to exchange for a rent adjustment. The Crown would still consider reducing the rent until the next rent review, when the circumstances of the lessee (or a successor in title) would be looked at again.”

David Parker said the government’s reasoning for its rentals approach is set out in its response to the High Country Pastoral Leases Review 2005-2007, which he released today.

“The government’s decisions about lakeside properties and rent adjustment are consistent with its overall high country objectives. The government remains committed to high country farming that is environmentally sustainable and economically viable. We value its contribution to the New Zealand economy and South Island rural communities,” David Parker said.

See the attached Q&A for the government response to the review, and further details on the announcements.

For the High Country Pastoral Leases Review 2005-2007 and the relevant Cabinet papers and minutes, see http://www.linz.govt.nz/home/news/items/20071115-lakeside-leases-rents/index.html

The Cabinet papers are entitled:
• South Island High Country: Properties for Crown Withdrawal from Tenure Review; and
• South Island High Country Pastoral Leases Valuation Reviews: Report Back on Rent Setting and Rent Adjustment.

ENDS

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