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High Country farmers face more uncertainty, costs

High Country farmers face more uncertainty, costs

Details of the Government’s plan to end tenure review show some farmers will have wasted time and money on the regime and all farmers on Crown pastoral land will face higher costs, National’s Land Information spokesperson David Bennett says.

“Eugenie Sage’s announcement today shows that of the 34 leaseholders currently in tenure review, only eight will be allowed to proceed because they are far enough advanced to create a contractual obligation on the Crown.

“The other 26 will feel aggrieved at the Minister’s unilateral actions in cancelling their applications when they had already started negotiating.

“The Minister for Land Information needs to explain why farmers who entered the review process in good faith won’t have their work honoured, no matter how much they’ve spent so far on lawyers, surveyors and other experts.

“The announcement isn’t a surprise given the Minister’s views on tenure review when it had been shown to have created some good outcomes. In opposing High Country farmers she has exaggerated the extent to which intensive farming has resulted from tenure review.

“No matter what the Minister thinks, farmers are not the enemy of the High Country. She disregards generations of good stewardship of this Crown pastoral land including areas retired to protect its conservation values, such as through QEll covenants.

“I feel for those caught up in the middle of this process – they need certainty but the only thing certain is that costs are going to rise through the proposed charging for discretionary consent applications for leaseholders. At least the current process doesn’t include rent reviews.

“Ms Sage is also vague on the fiscal implications of the proposed changes, a point noted with concern by the Treasury.

“National prefers a collaborative approach between Government and farmers with long-term management plans. We urge all stakeholders to ensure their voices are heard before the eight-week consultation period ends on April 12.”

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