Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Court Decision A Victory For High Country Native Plants

22 November 2012
Forest & Bird media release

Court Decision A Victory For High Country Native Plants

Forest & Bird says an Environment Court decision is an important win in the fight to protect the significant areas of native plants on land privatised through the badly-imbalanced high country tenure review process.

The conservation charity took the Waitaki District Council and Federated Farmers to court in June to overturn an exemption in the Waitaki District Council’s District Plan that meant the rules in the plan intended to protect native plants did not apply to land that had been privatised through the tenure review process. The court found that the exemption did not achieve the District Plan’s objectives or the ‘sustainable management’ purpose of the RMA.

“The exemption in the District Plan meant that farmers who had received high country land through the tenure review process were free to clear tussock, shrublands and other important native vegetation that is already so reduced in the Waitaki District,” says Forest & Bird’s Solicitor Sally Gepp.

“A major current trend is vegetation clearance for conversion to dairy farms, or the creation of lifestyle subdivisions,” she says.

The Crown Pastoral Land Act was created in 1998 and sets out a process for transferring land from the Crown to farmers with pastoral leases over the land. That process is known as ‘tenure review.’ The Court accepted Forest & Bird’s evidence that while the tenure review process requires consideration of the land’s ecological values, its outcomes do not always result in the protection of those values.

“Our evidence showed that in lower altitude areas where the least native plants remain, less than half of the areas that the Department of Conservation had identified as ‘significant’ were retained in Crown ownership,” Sally Gepp says.

“The remaining areas were freeholded with no form of protection. The problem is that the Waitaki District Council then decided that its Plan wouldn’t protect those areas either.”

Federated Farmers told the Court that there was no point in having a vegetation clearance rule because it doesn’t control other farming activities such as intensive grazing, which can also cause substantial vegetation change.

“We are delighted that the Court accepted that clearance is more final and irreversible than grazing, and should be controlled on all land regardless of who owns it. Having said this, we agree that the Plan is inadequate in terms of controlling intensive farming activities such as irrigation, which can be fatal to native plants, and we urge the Council to consider whether the rule should be extended,” Ms Gepp says.

“These tussock lands are part of this country’s natural heritage – that’s why it’s used as a location for so many movies and TV commercials – and many other species there are found almost nowhere else in New Zealand or the world. The Waitaki District Council has a duty to consider more than the interests of farmers.

“This case shows that tenure review is not adequately protecting nature in the high country, and that vegetation clearance rules are important tools to help councils meet their responsibilities,” she says.

www.forestandbird.org.nz

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Patience: Drive Safe

Be patient before passing is the AA's message for drivers this Labour weekend.

"People taking crazy risks to get past other vehicles is one of the most dangerous things on the road,” says AA spokesperson Dylan Thomsen.

“The weather is looking good for the long weekend so the roads will be busy. Unfortunately, that also increases the chances of people getting frustrated and trying a risky passing manoeuvre. When they get past, there will probably be more traffic up ahead anyway so it won’t get people there faster.” More>>

 
 

Parliament Today:

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Tokenism Of New Zealand's Role Against Islamic State

Our contribution against IS will be to send SAS forces to train the Iraqis? That’s like offering trainers to General Custer just as the 7th cavalry reached the Little Big Horn. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Shell And Todd Caught Drilling Without Approval

Multi-national oil company Shell’s New Zealand arm and local energy giant Todd Energy have breached the new law governing New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the Environmental Protection Authority says in an Oct. 10 document released by the Green Party. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Pharmac, Gough Whitlam And Sleater-Kinney

We’re not at the outset of these negotiations. The outset was six years ago, and negotiators were hoping to have some sort of ‘framework’ deal finished in time for the APEC meeting in a few weeks’ time. These ‘extreme’ positions are what we’ve reached near the intended end of the negotiations… More>>

ALSO:

PM Of Many Hats: Questions, No Answers On Whale Oil

Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader – Green) to the Prime Minister: How many times since November 2008 has he spoken with blogger Cameron Slater on the phone and how many times, if any, has he texted him?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): None in my capacity as Prime Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Aussie Investigation Dropped: Call On Minister McCully To Pursue The Case Of Balibo Five

West Papua Action is deeply concerned at the lack of any clear outcome from the Australian Federal Police inquiry into the 1975 deaths of the ‘Balibo Five’ including NZ journalist Gary Cunningham. More>>

ALSO:

'Feed The Kids' Bill: Metiria Turei To Lead Fight On Feeding Hungry Children

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is urging all political parties to support the Feed the Kids Bill which she inherited today from Mana leader Hone Harawira. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sat at 10.30am on Tuesday before MPs were summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news