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Haast Grazing Concession Cancelled

The Department of Conservation has decided to cancel a concession to graze cattle in the Haast River Valley after new information showed the cattle could not be contained in the licence area.

The grazing licence was originally granted to John B Cowan in February 2020, subject to a number of special conditions to manage the impact of cattle on the adjacent Mt Aspiring National Park and conservation areas.

DOC Director General Lou Sanson says the applicant asked for the fencing conditions to be reconsidered, saying they were impractical, raised animal welfare issues and were economically unviable.

“We tried our best to come to a workable solution to keep the cows within the licence area applied for, while balancing the needs of the farmer.

“I visited the site and met with the family to seek their views, and I have some sympathy for their situation.

“However independent advice has confirmed that fencing is not practical and there are no alternative practical methods to contain the stock in the licence area.”

The fencing provisions were fundamental to the initial decision to approve the application. Without fencing, grazing is now inconsistent with the Conservation Act and other statutory planning documents that DOC must abide by.

“This decision should in no way be seen as setting a precedent for other grazing activities in South Westland. Grazing licences will be treated on their own merits on a case-by-case basis, and according to agreements reached with adjoining landowners to create the Mt Aspiring National Park in 1963,” Lou Sanson says.

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