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Full reparation sought from govt for breaches

Media release – November 27, 2007

Full reparation sought from the government for their ‘blatant and significant breaches’
in long-running land dispute case

A court decision has ruled in favour of Canterbury high country farmers Mark and Karen Feary who took on the government in their long-running land dispute.

The whole of their 1780ha Mt Oxford land block which has been in their family for 70 years is apparently now under Department of Conservation (DoC) control.

The district court decision on Friday dismissed most of the government’s costs application citing that its argument were outweighed by ``the blatant and significant breaches’’ of the timeframe, set out in the December 2005 agreements.’’

``This is way beyond what Karen and I expected,’’ Mark Feary said today.

``We had hoped the courts might find that the 2005 agreement was and still is an agreement and that the government had committee a couple of breaches.

``Naturally we are absolutely stoked that the courts have confirmed that agreement but it goes further and not only finds the government committed a total of five breaches but that each of those five breaches were both blatant and significant,’’ Feary said.

``In our view it would have been suicidal for us to have gone down any path of resolution before we had got the government to accept the December 2005 agreement is an agreement and that it had committed the various breaches of it.

``Now this agreement and those breaches by the government had been fully exposed for what they are, it is hoped that meaningful discussions will now replace the need for more court action to enforce other agreements. We will now seek full reparation.’’

Feary said he could not speak highly enough of the Southland Building Society who supported him with substantial loans to meet legal costs during the time of the government’s ``blatant breaches’’ which enabled their lawyers at Buddle Findlay to keep going as best as they could in the circumstances.

``Without the SBS we were undoubtedly dead and buried. This latest judgment and the judgment early this year would never had happened without them.’’

Earlier this year, the Fearys received a further payment from the Government in excess of $900,000.

The long and difficult journey for the Canterbury farming couple will be of significant interest to the public and high country farmers.


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