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Forest & Bird Tests Its Credibility

4 December 2003
PR 248/03

Forest & Bird Tests Its Credibility

The Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society has put its credibility on the line in resorting to misinformation on the tenure review process, says John Davis, Chairman, South Island High Country Committee of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).

A Forest & Bird statement said that the process will lead to "prime recreation land .... (being) privatised and locked up in private ownership". The Society also expressed dismay that an area of high altitude, very high quality slim snow tussock, Chionnchloa macra (on Mt. Burke Station), is to be freeholded with a covenant that allows continued grazing.

"The covenant is one of a number proposed on the area of that property to be freeholded. Grazing is being permitted simply because the vegetation has survived well under such a regime for over 100 years," said Mr Davis.

Mr Davis describes the claim that land being freeholded under the process is being "locked up in private ownership" as emotive nonsense.

"Forest & Bird is well aware that leasehold land is not public domain. Leaseholders have the same right to limit or otherwise control access as holders of freehold title.

"Over half of the South Island is already in Department of Conservation estate or National Parks and it is envisaged that the Tenure Review process will add a further 1 million hectares to this. The Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society is aware of this also.

"In effect, what Forest & Bird is doing in calling for a halt in the tenure review process is asking that the transfer of up to one million hectares of land to full Crown ownership be stopped, and that this land remains under private control.

"Forest & Bird would do its own cause far more good if it were to abandon this confrontational campaign of misinformation and engage in some constructive dialogue with Government agencies and landholders," Mr. Davis concluded.


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