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

Gordon Campbell:
On Tomorrow’s Speeches By John Key And
Andrew Little

The Key government has already kicked off the political year on a stridently ideological note, with Environment Minister Nick Smith choosing to lay all manner of sins at the door of the Resource Management Act.

Tomorrow, the government will wheeling out its best salesman – Prime Minister John Key – to sell its plans for state housing, which happens to be another of the government’s most contentious, most ideologically-driven policy packages. Presumably, Key will be trying not to double down on the rhetoric, and thereby leave room for Labour leader Andrew Little to sound like the centrist voice of reason.

Key will have his work cut out, though. More>>

 

Transport: Auckland Looks To Light Rail

The Board of Auckland Transport has called for an investigation into a light rail network, which could relieve traffic congestion on some of the region’s busiest roads. This stems from work in 2012 (the City Centre Future Access study) which responded to a government request to develop a robust and achievable solution for access to the CBD. More>>

ALSO:

RMA: Smith's Claims Don't Match Evidence - Greens

The Motu group’s research into the impacts of planning rules looked at the costs related to housing development but not the benefits of environmental protections and does not recommend significant changes to the RMA to reduce the cost of new house builds. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Similarities Between John Key And David Cameron

For years now, David Cameron has been the closest available thing to a mentor/analogue to our Prime Minister, such that Key watchers could be interested in an analysis of Cameron that appeared in the British press over the Christmas break. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Ian Fletcher Resignation & GCSB’s New Role

It may well be that after being shoulder-tapped in Queensland for the GCSB job, three years of living in Wellington has been enough for Fletcher and his family, given that the pending review of the GCSB would have required an even longer commitment from him. Three years of Wellington’s weather is enough for anyone... More>>

ALSO:

Ian Apperley: $10m Or $100m For New Wellington Council IT System?

I feel a Tui Billboard coming on. I commented the other day that it looked like the Council’s Ninth big project was a potential $100 million plus... The Mayor has responded: “I am reassured by the Chief Executive and by Anthony Wilson that the proposed budget is in the region of $10 million.” More>>

ALSO:

Southern Ocean:
Navy Intercepts Illegal Fishing Vessels

Foreign Minister Murray McCully today put illegal fishing vessels operating in the Southern Ocean on notice and vowed to take action against their owners. “As part of a multi-agency operation, the HMNZS WELLINGTON has intercepted two vessels claiming to be flagged to Equatorial Guinea, fishing illegally in the Southern Ocean.” Mr McCully says. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news