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Worst Fears Realised

27 October 2004

Worst Fears Realised

Otago farmers are extremely disappointed that the government is to impose a
20-metre access way either side of waterways flowing through privately owned land, said Grant Bradfield, President of Otago Federated Farmers.

"Rural Affairs and Biosecurity Minister Jim Sutton's confirmation of the access way confirms farmers' worst fears: that the government will allow anyone, regardless of their intention, to walk on farm land along waterways," Mr Bradfield said.

Mr Sutton made the comments in the Otago Daily Times* published October 27.

"The Minister's statement that he is extending the Queen's Chain is not what we would expect from someone whose job it is to advocate for the rural sector and to protect farm biosecurity," Mr Bradfield said.

"The vast majority of farmers let people walk across their land, but they want to retain the right to control and manage those who seek to come onto their property. This is not an unreasonable position.

"The Minister risks alienating farmers and recreational access groups, which broadly speaking get on well with each other."

Mr Bradfield emphatically rejected the allegation that Federated Farmers is campaigning against the government.

"Federated Farmers reflects the concerns of its members and the message it is getting from farmers is that they do not want to see the security of their families, homes and businesses threatened by the government’s access proposals.

"Mr Sutton has promised a legislated public code of responsibility. But such a code is as unenforceable as forcing people to pick up dog droppings," Mr Bradfield said.

ENDS

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