Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Public access benefits for the high country

Public access benefits for the high country

Public access to high country conservation parks and reserves is one of the major benefits of tenure review of South Island pastoral leases, the Department of Conservation says.

DOC Canterbury Conservator Mike Cuddihy was commenting today on runholders’ concerns that DOC’s acquisition of high country land would destroy the merino industry and farmers’ way of life.

“Let’s get the debate on the high country into perspective,” Mr Cuddihy said. “A large area of high country that till now has been restricted to the public will be opened up for all New Zealanders to enjoy. Farmers will be able to diversify into other activities on their land. The tourism industry will benefit.”

“The public will have free access to the new conservation parks and reserves, where they can take advantage of recreation opportunities, as they wish. Let’s not confuse this access as of right with the farmers’ right of refusal of access on land they manage.”

Land covenants for conservation were not the answer, in general, because ownership and trespass rights would remain with the farmer, not the public, Mr Cuddihy said.

That 64 per cent of 304 pastoral lessees had completed or entered tenure review since 1998 suggested that farmers see benefits in it for them, Mr Cuddihy said. They would be free to determine their own economic futures on freeholded land, for example, in viticulture, orchards, forestry, deer farming, ecotourism, or continue with merino farming.

“Life in the high country is changing regardless of tenure review, and in response to choices the farmers themselves are making,” Mr Cuddihy said.

“The musterers on horseback are increasingly being replaced by men in Toyotas and helicopters. High country communities are becoming depopulated as farmers shed staff in the pursuit of economic efficiency.”

“New jobs in the high country are going to come from other activities than high country pastoral farming, tourism for example,” Mr Cuddihy said. “And this isn’t just my imagination. The Otago Central Rail Trail is an excellent example of revitalising communities along its 150km length.”

Some merino production would be lost as land is transferred into high country conservation parks and reserves, and as farmers diversify away from merino farming on freeholded land, Mr Cuddihy said.

“Farmers’ claims of 600,000 stock units being lost from the high country appear to be exaggerated, and one-sided. A drop in stock units was always envisaged under the Crown Pastoral Lease Act.”

But change was afoot in the merino industry in any case, with or without tenure review, Mr Cuddihy said. Fine wools were increasingly coming off the back of improved breeds grazing fertile lands, rather than from sheep on marginal lands.

“Farmers know that tenure review is voluntary, they don’t have to enter if they don’t want to, and they know it involves a deal - they get to freehold productive land in exchange for land with high conservation values being protected permanently, preferably by way of return to full Crown ownership.”

Full protection was required for conservation land, because in many cases, even light grazing caused environmental impacts on native species, Mr Cuddihy said. Cattle damaged trees, shrubs and wetlands. Sheep preferentially grazed palatable species. Burning and grazing over many years had changed the species composition of the high country.

“DOC may allow a little grazing where sheep can remove introduced pasture grasses, benefiting native flora till they regenerate to the point when sheep can no longer access this land. In such cases, sheep will be managed for conservation reasons not for agricultural production.”

“Tenure review will benefit native species, such as many plants, lizards and insects that occur nowhere else in New Zealand. With the sheep gone, high country conservation areas will revert naturally from tussock and grasslands into a mosaic of shrubs, forest, alpine herbfields, as well as tussocklands.”

“Finally, criticisms of DOC secrecy over the locations and sizes of the high country conservation parks and reserves are totally unfounded. The outcome of tenure review will largely shape the parks and reserves network, not the other way around. The reason DOC cannot say exactly where the parks and reserves will be is simply because we do not yet know. The farmers are part of the equation, there is no secrecy here.”

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Peters/Ardern Triumph

There are a lot of good reasons to feel joyful about this outcome. It is what so many young voters – the best hope for the country’s future – wanted.

Far more important than the implications for the Economy Gods ( is the dollar up or down? ) last night’s outcome will also mean many, many vulnerable New Zealanders will have a better life over the next three years at least.

Yet the desire for change was in the majority, across the country..>>>More


Reaction

Labour on its agreement |Peters: Post-Election Announcement Speech | Greenpeace “cautiously hopeful” about new Government | ACT - Madman on the loose | E tū ecstatic | Chamber welcomes the outcome | Greens on their joining Govt | EDS welcomes new govt | Immigrant groups worry | Feds ready to engage new coalition government | Labour Ministers of the Crown announced

 

Climate: Increasing Greenhouse Emissions Hit NZ

New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ about the state of the atmosphere and climate…More>>

ALSO:


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>

ALSO:

Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>

ALSO:

Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>

ALSO:

Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>

ALSO:

Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election