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Mt Ida decision released

30 January 2008

Mt Ida decision released

A South Island high country grazing block in Central Otago is to be retained in full Crown ownership and become conservation land, Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) said today.

LINZ has concluded a review of the 8401 hectare Mt Ida Syndicate property The property, located on the Mt Ida Range near Ranfurly, is currently used for summer grazing under a short term occupation licence with no legal right of renewal.

Under the final (substantive) proposal for the property, developed after consideration of public submissions, the land will be transferred to the Department of Conservation (DOC), with grazing to continue for the next five years.

LINZ General Manager Business Support Brian Usherwood said while the proposal gives the Mt Ida Syndicate licence-holders the right to graze the property for a further five years, this is on a non-exclusive basis that also allows public access to the area. There is no automatic legal right to renew this grazing arrangement.

At the end of the five year period the licence-holders would not be prevented from asking DOC to consider a further period of grazing. Such a request would be considered according to circumstances at that time.

Mr Usherwood said the property had high conservation, landscape, historic and recreational values. The review concluded that the objectives of the Crown Pastoral Land Act 1998 were best met by transferring the land to DOC.

The licence holders have 21 days to apply for a rehearing of the decision by the Commissioner of Crown Lands.

Background information

- The review of the former Mt Ida Syndicate pastoral occupation licence, which expired in 2004, is a compulsory review required by the Crown Pastoral Land Act 1998 (CPLA). The licence-holders have been grazing the land under year to year occupation licences while the review has been carried out. The current licence expires on 30 June 2008.

- The CPLA established fixed goals for pastoral occupation licences. Land can be retained in Crown ownership as a conservation area or reserve, or freeholded, or disposed of by way of special lease.

- Review outcomes must meet the Act’s objectives to promote the management of Crown land in a way that is ecologically sustainable, and to enable the protection of significant inherent values of Crown land.

- Historically, pastoral occupation licences were issued where the Crown had yet to decide the future of the land. The licences were short term, and (unlike pastoral leases) are not perpetually renewable. Until the CPLA established fixed goals for these lands, some licences had been continually renewed over long periods of time.

- The current annual rent for summer grazing on the Mt Ida Syndicate property is $1,180 (plus GST). The rate for the five year non-exclusive transitional grazing period is subject to negotiations with the licence-holders.

ENDS

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