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Motatapu should have gone through Tenure Review

Motatapu should have gone through Tenure Review

Conservation and recreation have made some gains through the sale of Motatapu, and Mt Soho pastoral leases to Shania Twain and Robert Lange, compared to previous unconditional sales of high country to foreign owners, according to the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society.

The Society’s Southern Conservation Officer, Sue Maturin welcomes the proposals to establish a tramping track, and retire land above the snowline, but says the track is very steep and will only be suitable for experienced trampers and the super fit.

“Mountain bikers and family trampers will miss out.”

“Motatapu Station has one of New Zealand ’s most sought after mountain bike routes and year round access to this should have been part of the deal,” she said.

“This sale highlights significant problems of selling high country pastoral leases with high conservation and recreation values to overseas interests, without any requirement that they go through tenure review.”

“Motatapu Station should have been required to go through tenure review before the sale was completed.” She said.

“If this had occurred then the local community would have been consulted and options for securing appropriate recreational access and protection of conservation values would have been properly addressed.”

“Foreign owners are often more interested in the life style, or tourism values of pastoral leases. Consequently they may not be interested in tenure review. This means that lands which would normally be transferred to DOC, protected and available for free public access as part of tenure review, will remain locked up in pastoral lease land.”

“It is appropriate that foreign owners be required to protect conservation values and provide public access, when they are purchasing lands, which have special values to New Zealanders. Ownership by foreign interests is a privilege and not a right.”

“One good thing with this sale is that the purchasers intend to develop a conservation plan for the leases. This is not a requirement of existing pastoral lessee’s and may inspire kiwi lessees to be more proactive in protecting conservation values and providing public recreation.” Sue Maturin said.

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