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Biodiversity Strategy Dependent On Farmer Goodwill

29 MARCH 2000

PR23/2000

BIODIVERSITY STRATEGY DEPENDENT ON FARMER GOODWILL

Federated Farmers has recognised the importance of the Biodiversity Strategy launched today, if the right approach is taken and the goodwill of private landowners can be utilised.

The Government's initiative to protect New Zealand's biodiversity will be supported by the farmer lobby group, so long as landowners' property rights are respected and a 'partnership' approach to funding and controls is adopted.

Federated Farmers President Alistair Polson said, "Overall, the Biodiversity Strategy recognises that private landowners play an integral part of successful protection efforts."

"However, farmers and private landowners will quickly withdraw any support if central and local government takes a 'we know best' approach."

"What the Government and local authorities must keep in mind is that protecting what natural areas we have, and adding to those areas, requires both tax and ratepayers' commitment, as well as farmers' goodwill."

"Also, there still no focus on informing all New Zealanders of their obligations to front up with dollars to support the conservation values that our nation aspires to."

The report acknowledges that biodiversity requires active management. "Maintaining a native forest requires more than banning the property owner from clearing it. The area must be fenced, and pests controlled. Neither will happen if the farmer does not support the conservation effort."

"The Strategy recognises that New Zealand's biodiversity includes introduced species that are vital for our economic welfare, and that this important genetic base must be protected."

"This strategy will hopefully lead to more focused spending by DoC on conservation projects."

"Farmers are conservationists, and their efforts are being held back by lack of government support for organisations like the Landcare Trust and the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust," concluded Mr Polson.

ENDS

For further information: Alistair Polson 025-370-085 Catherine Petrey 04-473-7269


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