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Facts, Not Fairy Stories, Please

5 December 2003
PR 250/03

Facts, Not Fairy Stories, Please

If the Royal Forest and Bird Society wishes to be regarded as an organisation genuinely interested in the tenure review process, then it should get its basic facts right, says John Davis, Chairman, South Island High Country Committee of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).

This follows yet another claim by a Forest and Bird representative that the tenure review process is privatising Crown land. This claim came in response to a statement by ACT MP Gerry Eckhoff.

Forest and Bird accused Mr Eckhoff of distortion in his statement on the Mount Burke tenure review. The Society states that "He knows full well that the land in question is Crown owned land that is administered by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) on behalf of all New Zealanders".

"But if anyone is distorting the facts it is Forest and Bird", says Mr Davis. "After all that has been written and said about the tenure review process, the Society should be well aware that we are talking about alienated Crown land. If they are not aware of this they have no business entering any debate on the subject.

"This is made clear in the Department of Conservation manual on the process which states the Crown Pastoral Land Act 1998 introduced a new regime for tenure review and discretionary consents affecting alienated Crown land in the South Island High Country."

The Minister of Land Information, John Tamihere, has made it clear what 'alienated crown land' means. "To all intents and purposes," Mr Tamihere's statement says, "the land held in high country leases has been treated like freehold land. The leaseholders have held these leases for more than a century and hold them in perpetuity".

"Surely this makes the situation abundantly clear" says Mr Davis. "Contrary to what Forest and Bird is trying to tell the public, the tenure review process is actually returning land, currently under private control, to full Crown ownership".


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