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Political Patronage Overrides Property Rights

Political Patronage Overrides Property Rights

Friday 1 Oct 2004

Gerry Eckhoff - Press Releases - Rural

The farming community can take cold comfort from the appointment of the Waitaki Catchment Water Allocation Board announced yesterday by the Labour Government, ACT New Zealand Rural Affairs Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff said today.

"The Board is hand picked to achieve the requirements of the Government, which undoubtedly is prioritising power generation over irrigation in the South Island," Mr Eckhoff said.

"Rural New Zealand will be stunned at the appointment of two members of the thoroughly discredited Land Access Reference Group - Edward Ellison and Claire Mulcock - as members of the Board. That group did nothing to protect landowners' property rights.

"I see no reason to believe that attitudes would be changed because they have now been appointed to a board in a region where historical property rights in water have long been recognised by farmers.

"The significance of this board will be the precedent it sets as to who gets what water in other parts of the country. No issue is more important than water allocation and its use east of the South Island's main divide.

"To leave water allocation in the hands of political patronage will ensure that short-term expedient operations will always be invoked over the longer-term stability that a clear property right to water will guarantee," Mr Eckhoff said.


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