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Brash Off target on South Island Tenure Review

16 March 2005

Brash Off target on South Island Tenure Review

A major national recreational body, the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations, says National leader Don Brash is way off target with his criticism of pastoral lease tenure review. Dr Brash told the lessees association, High Country Federated Farmers, at Molesworth today, that too much land was becoming public land under tenure review.

Hugh Barr, spokesman for the Council says “It was the previous National government who introduced the tenure review legislation. A recent Cabinet paper showed that of 142,500 hectares going through tenure review, 93,000 hectares had been freeholded to lessees, and only 49,000 hectares went to public reserve.”

“So, the proportion of land becoming public reserve at 34% was well below the 45% claimed by previous National Minister of Lands Denis Marshall during debate on the Tenure Review Act” Mr Barr said. “We know, as a participant in the tenure review process, that the playing field is grossly tilted towards the lessees. Recreational user comments are usually ignored.”

“As well, lessees paid only a miniscule 2% rental on the unimproved value of their leases, much less than other farmers” Mr Barr said. “This was a continuation of the various taxpayer subsidies high country lessees had always had in the past. This partly explained why the leases changed hands at three to four times their value for grazing”.

Rather than further subsidise these lessees and their questionable rights, a right winger like Dr Brash should be keen to see their taxpayer privileges taken away” Mr Barr said.

ENDS

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