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Molesworth Decision Disaster-In-Waiting

Molesworth Decision Disaster-In-Waiting

Labour's decision to transfer Molesworth Station to the Department of Conservation is a cynical attempt to harness public sentiment on access issues whereas, in reality, this move will be a disaster for land management, the environment and the taxpayer, ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader Ken Shirley said today.

"The integrated land management regime of LINZ, and its lessee Landcorp, has rehabilitated the Molesworth landscape over recent years. Under Landcorp's multiple use plan, 64 percent of Molesworth is effectively in reserve, with only 36 percent grazed," Mr Shirley said.

"The grazed lands are deriving more income than has been the case in decades of Crown management. Landcorp has made startling gains in pest control, combating the spread of noxious weeds and TB infected possums.

"Conversely DoC has an appalling record in these areas. DoC cannot manage the vast tracks of land it already has responsibility for, and is widely recognised by farmers as the `neighbour from hell'.

"Under DoC management, plant and animal pests will once more gain the upper hand, with broome spreading down the river valleys and infecting neighbouring properties.

"There will be a much greater cost to the taxpayer under DoC control; the landscape will become degraded and there will be no improvement in public access which is already widespread.

"The Government is completely overriding the professional advice that it has received in this matter, which recommends continued Landcorp management," Mr Shirley said.

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