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Farmers Resort To Newspaper Notices In Dispute

Media release – October 31, 2007

Mt Oxford farmers refer to anti-terrorism laws in public notices in seeking answers from Government in long-running land dispute

Canterbury high country farmers Mark and Karen Feary have resorted to large newspaper public notices to seek answers from Government in their long-running land dispute.

The Fearys of Mt Oxford last month received a further payment from the Government in excess of $900,000.

However, in an open letter public notice to the commissioner of Crown Lands David Gullen, Mark Feary has asked why the government has not answered their question about the settlement being confidential.

``The commissioner of Crown Lands chose not to inform us the deed was confidential. If we had known the agreement was confidential we wouldn’t have signed the deal,’’ Feary said today.

``Mr Gullen’s department has also denied us access to our records relating to our case.’’

In the open letter large public notice in The Press newspaper today, Feary said that ‘’post 9/11 we all agree we need some kind of anti-terrorism laws. This must not be at the needless expense of us all losing our right to ask the government reasonable questions or be denied access to our records (as we have) to see what the government is saying about us’’.

Feary said he felt so strongly about the case he planned to place more large public notices in the paper until the commissioner had answered his question and made their records available to him.

``This latest issue is pretty much business as usual for us in this long running saga,’’ Feary said.

The whole of the 1780ha Mt Oxford land block which has been in their family for 70 years is apparently now under Department of Conservation (DoC) control.

``The state has so far paid Karen and I more than $1 million and are now staring down the barrel of millions more,’’ Feary said.

``This is what the government gets for not honouring the pastoral lease contract in the first place.’’

The long and difficult journey for the Canterbury farming couple will be of significant interest to the public and especially to high country farmers.


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