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Copeland dismayed by Forest and Bird

Copeland dismayed by Forest and Bird assessment of Mt Ida run

United Future MP Gordon Copeland has opposed lobbying from the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society for the Government to carve off the Hawkdun-Mt Ida Ranges as a conservation park.

"The Hawkdun-Mt Ida run is one of the most famous high country sheep runs in the world.

"Typically 10,000 sheep every year are sent up to this hill country for summer grazing in what is a cooperative exercise undertaken by a handful of Maniototo Valley families.

"It is my understanding that the same families have managed the run since it was first leased from the Crown in the 19th century. It is with great pride that those who manage and muster that land boast of the flourishing flora and fauna in that area," said Mr Copeland.

"10 000 sheep spread over 8400 ha for barely six months of the year is hardly a major ecological catastrophe.

"While I have a great deal of respect for the work of Forest and Bird I consider this proposal a slight on those families who, while running stock over the land, have taken their conservation responsibilities very seriously.

"From what I know of the families who manage the Hawkdun-Mt Ida lease, they take the preservation of the environment in the high country very seriously.

"I would challenge those in Forest and Bird to prove to the people of the Maniototo that the Department of Conservation will better look after that land than the families who have done so for four or five generations.

"New Zealanders know that DoC, because of its resource restrictions, can hardly manage the areas of New Zealand that it administers now, never mind the vast tracts of land that it may acquire through this review process.

"It would be a real shame, in my opinion, to see the end of the Mt Ida run. This is the domain of the real 'southern men' and is a critical part of the culture, history and ecology of the Central Otago region.

"I urge Land Information New Zealand to see sense and leave the collective family management arrangement for the Hawkdun-Mt Ida Ranges in place," concluded Mr Copeland.

ENDS

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