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Birdbrain Logic Laughable

24 February 2005

Birdbrain Logic Laughable

High Country farmers are deeply disappointed that Forest and Bird is using selective facts to attack the amount of rent paid for leasehold farm land, said John Aspinall, a National Board member of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).

Forest and Bird should be reminded that nearly all High Country farmers pay substantially more than the ridiculously laughable example of $20 a week to lease a High Country run.

"Seven High Country properties recently reviewed are paying an average $25,290 a year or $500 a week -- much more than Forest and Bird's claim.

"For many people $500 a week is a reasonably large amount to lease bare, often remote land without modifications and improvements such as grass, homes, and fences.

"The lease is for the land in its least productive state and the lessee pays all rates, insurance, weed and pest control, hazard, fire, and erosion control, for maintenance of waterways, and provision of utilities (electricity, sewerage, water, and telephone).

"Unlike household tenancy agreements, a pastoral lease does not cover rates, insurance, repairs and maintenance," Mr Aspinall said.

"The lease is for pastoral farming only. Any other commercial activity requires the government's consent and payment of an additional rental.

"Forest and Bird is being mischievous in picking on High Country farmers who pay the least rent. Yes, some rents paid by a small number of High Country farmers are very low -- but these are for run-off blocks of very limited grazing value. To suggest that a few farmers are getting wealthy by using this land is a gross inaccuracy.

"Forest and Bird is overstepping its boundaries in commenting without justification or relevance on rents paid by High Country farmers. It would be wise to keep its uninformed views to itself rather than pick on farming families facing the long-term stress of tenure review."


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