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Minister fudges on future of Molesworth

Minister fudges on future of Molesworth

The National Party says the Government is picking a fight with high country farmers if it goes ahead with any plan to put Molesworth Station under Department of Conservation control.

The Government's reportedly under pressure from some conservation groups to place the country's best-known high country station under DOC control when its lease to Landcorp expires in June 2005.

"This would be a land grab of major proportions - Molesworth is over 180,000 hectares," says National's Agriculture spokesman David Carter.

"The idea's clearly on Labour's drawing board because Land Minister John Tamihere is refusing to confirm the station's future ownership.

"All he will say is "officials are still working through options for the future of Molesworth Station," says Mr Carter.

"I can tell him, as any high country farmer can, that any suggestion of putting Molesworth Station under DOC control would spell disaster for a profitable farming business.

"DOC already carries the tag of being the most irresponsible landowner in New Zealand. They don't control gorse and broom on the boundaries of their properties like private landowners have to. Just ask any farmer who farms next to DOC land and they'll tell you about non-existent weed and pest control," Mr Carter says.

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