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35 km Wanaka Lakeshore frontage to be privatised

Wednesday 3rd December 2003

MEDIA RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE USE

35 km Wanaka Lakeshore frontage to be privatised

Proposals to freehold some 35km of land fronting onto Lake Wanaka including The Peninsula on Mt Burke Station represents a failure of the Government’s tenure review programme, according to the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society.

“The Peninsula, which has outstanding landscape values, potential for restoration and development as a ‘mainland island’ and should be protected as conservation land”. Sue Maturin, the Society’s Southern Conservation officer said.

‘The Government should not be allowing land adjacent to the lakeshore, which is prime recreation land, or The Peninsula to be privatised and locked up in private ownership.’

“There is a huge need for greater public access around Lake Wanaka, for boaties, walkers, fishers and campers. The tenure review on Mt Burke Station should have been a great opportunity to create recreation reserves. But Government officials have fallen over backwards to meet the wishes of the Lessee, and public access has been relegated to the existing marginal strips, and a miserly 1ha recreation reserve which is not suitable for camping.” Sue Maturin said.

The tenure review proposals for Mt Burke Station involve freeholding 7,340ha and returning some 2,600ha of mostly high altitude land to the Crown to protect as a conservation area. Five small covenants to protect remnant totara and beech stands and some regenerating bush on The Peninsula, and one large covenant are also proposed.

Sue Maturin said the Society was dismayed that an area of high altitude, very high quality slim snow tussock, Chionnchloa macra is to be freeholded with a covenant that allows continued grazing.

“This area was originally proposed to come to the Department of Conservation as it was ranked as having particular conservation significance, as slim snow tussock has been drastically reduced in Central Otago.”

The Society is calling for a moratorium on all tenure reviews in the South Island high country.

‘The tenure review process is resulting in the privatisation of many iconic landscapes like Mt Burke, and a loss of conservation and recreational opportunities, that will never be available again for future generations,” Sue Maturin said.

Ends

Contact: Sue Maturin, Otago (03) 477 9677 (wk) or (03) 487 6125 (home)

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