Compensation Must Be Fair To All Landowners
The announcement by the Minister of Conservation Nick Smith to compensate the Maori owners of the Lord River block in Stewart Island is today being welcomed by ACT Otago Candidate Gerrard Eckhoff.
However, Gerry Eckhoff said it now appears that the Minister is indulging in environmental apartheid. "Landowners are now compensated for loss of economic opportunity - if they are Maori, where as Pakeha landowners must suffer in silence with no prospect of compensation," he said.
"The Native Forest Amendment Act and the RMA conspire to steal land through loss of economic opportunity to owners of wetlands, bush remnants and other areas like tossock-grass land.
"It is outrageous that a Minister of the Crown indulges in the selective treatment of land owners based on race. It is high time a cost/benefit analysis of DOC was carried out.
New Zealanders cannot afford the social and economic cost of separate development," said Gerrard Eckhoff.