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Rural Women call for rational debate on land

28 October 2004

Rural Women call for rational debate on land access

Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) says that Federated Farmers aren’t the only ones seeking reassurance from Government that the security rights of rural families are properly considered in land access legislation.

RWNZ’s Land Convenor, Patricia Gordon, believes that Jim Sutton’s attack on Federated Farmers over land access shows how unsympathetic the Minister of Rural Affairs is to genuine rural concerns.

RWNZ and other rural advocacy groups have made submissions on this issue and feel that core issues are not being acknowledged.

“Rural people throughout the country are demanding a thorough consultation process before this new legislation is passed, yet all of this policy has been developed behind closed doors,” says Mrs Gordon

RWNZ has been informed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry that reports are being prepared for the Minister’s review only, and are not for public discussion.

“Due to a lack of information, the debate inevitably becomes politicised and views are polarised.”

Mrs Gordon says that while rational debate is sorely needed, this cannot be done without information about what the government proposes to do.

“The Minister’s Rural Affairs portfolio is a nonsense, meaning that this legislation is being formulated in isolation of the people who will be most affected by it.” Mrs Gordon says.

“Public access was not a problem in the past, so why impose legislations that may force landowners to feel that locking their gates is the only solution to health and safety, biosecurity, and personal security concerns?”

ENDS

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