Report slams Mackenzie tenure review

Report slams Mackenzie tenure review

Article by David Williams on newsroom.

Suggestions that land-use changes in the South Island high country are a 'train wreck' have been confirmed by new research, which heaps pressure on the new Government to act quickly before more Mackenzie Basin land is put into private hands through tenure review. David Williams reports.

New research suggests the law controlling tenure review is being ignored in the Mackenzie Basin, with important landscapes and threatened habitat going into private ownership, some with scant protection.

The academic paper, published in the New Zealand Universities Law Reviewjournal this week, says the controversial land carve-up of Crown-owned high country stations is only “half-heartedly” protecting landscapes and biodiversity. In fact, the more rare and threatened the ecological values of the land, the more likely it is to be freeholded, the research found.

The findings have sparked a renewed call from conservation lobby Environmental Defence Society for a halt in tenure review, while Forest & Bird says it’s time for a thorough review.

Land Information Minister Eugenie Sage is so far resisting calls for a moratorium, although she has told officials she’s disappointed with the results of tenure review and has demanded changes to counter what she calls a “biodiversity crisis”.

Farmers, meanwhile, say tenure review is “locking up” the higher ground on stations and irrigation is needed to make their farms sustainable.

This all comes as a multi-agency review, due to be finished early in the new year, runs the rule over land management in the Mackenzie Country – a vast expanse of tussock-land which is being increasingly greened and irrigated by hulking irrigation machines.

Read the full article on the newsroom website here.

Last updated at 11:57AM on December 14, 2017